June 22, 1929 – November 23, 2003
Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame Inductee – 2008 Awarded Posthumously
Laurene Sinema could truthfully be called Arizona’s “Mother of Quilting.” In 1978, Laurene opened Phoenix, Arizona’s First quilt shop, the Quilted Apple, with 13 bolts of fabric and a vision. Over the subsequent 25 years, thousands of quilters passed through her doors where they found, in Laurene, an excellent teacher; a teacher then always encouraged excellence in workmanship.
At the same time, she founded the Arizona Quilters Guild with the desire to bring quilters from around the state together for education and recognition. This organization, now with over 50 chapters and a membership approaching 3,000, continues to thrive. Laurene continued her support of that organization throughout her lifetime.
An important segment of her quilting life was serving as president of the Arizona Quilt Project. She led a group of volunteers in this six-year project that researched and documented Arizona quilts and their makers. Almost 3,000 quilts were documented in 28 quilt days held throughout the state over a two year period. The culmination of the project was a television special appearing on local PBS affiliates, several exhibitions, and a book, Grand Endeavors.
Laurene published original quilt patterns and books, ultimately marketing over 60 patterns. She also designed three lines of reproduction fabrics. An exhibit of redwork quilts, sponsored by Laurene, Cindy Taylor Oates, and Betty Alderman at Quilt market, is credited with the revival of these embroidered quilts and wall hangings.
In addition to showing her own work around the country, Laurene amassed a significant quilt collection also shared for exhibition around the country. A talented public speaker, once a month for ten years, she filled a antique trunk with quilts and traveled to various organization to put on a program showing quilts and telling stories.
Laurene served on the International Quilt Council, an advisory group to Karey Bresenhan, the director of International quilt Market and Quilt Festival, for eight years. She mentored other in their desire to be successful shop owners, and was generous with her advice gained through years of experience.
Gerry Sinema, in accepting Laurene’s posthumous recognition, said, “Thank you so much for this fine honor you’ve given Laurene. I am so pleased that she is not forgotten. The Quilted Apple was a work of love. She loved every one of you – you were truly a part of our family.