Mississippi Quilt Association
Many of our guild members are also members of our state organization, Mississippi Quilt Association (MQA) The first Gathering of MQA was hosted by Pine Belt Quilters in Hattiesburg in February 1991, and PBQ members have remained active and supportive in all aspects of this vital organization. Five of MQA's presidents have come from Pine Belt Quilters: Martha Ginn, Ollie Jean Lane, Ella Lucas, Ellen Hall, and Mary Nell Magee. Current MQA President Shirley Wiltshire and President-Elect Marietta Johnson are also Pine Belt Quilters members.
MQA holds three Gatherings each year about the state and an Educational Seminar each summer with a nationally known teacher traveling to three locations for two-day workshops. These seminars have featured teachers Marilyn Doheny, Deb Karasik, Nancy Mahoney, Sue Cleveland, and many others.
Under the leadership of Carol Vickers of Decatur, MS, MQA conducted a search project of quilts made before 1946, documenting more than 1,700 quilts. The outcome of this six-year project was twofold: the publication in 2001 (by University Press in Jackson) of Mississippi Quilts, written by Mary Elizabeth Johnson of Montgomery, AL, with photographs by J. D. Schwalm of Jackson, and the mounting of a traveling exhibit of photographs, "Unfolding Our Past." The exhibit traveled to eighteen venues across the state.
The next phase of documentation culminated in the publication of Martha Skelton: Master Quilter of Mississippi, by Mary Elizabeth Johnson, with foreword by Walt Grayson, photographs by J. D. Schwalm. The book is an illustrated biography of one of the state's most beloved artisans and teachers. PBQ members were a vital part of the fundraising efforts to finance the publication of this book by University Press. We were pleased that Martha was able to see and hold the beautiful book before her death in the fall of 2008. To preserve Mississippi's rich quilting legacy, future plans are to study the lives and quilts of other Mississippi quilters.
Gulf States Quilting Association
Many PBQ members are also active participants in the four-state organization, Gulf States Quilting Association (GSQA), which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle.