More About the Author
I am a happy woman, a lucky woman. Born in 1942, I remain blessed by Wellesley's liberating education, two life-long friends and happy memories. I'm grateful my father dissuaded me from a French major ("A skill, learn it later,") suggesting instead History's tree "whereon to hang what you love -- art, literature, religion broadly studied." I was blessed by loving parents -- the Artist and the Physicist -- as they protected our childhood innocence by waiting 'til asked (1963) to answer, "What your father has (multiple sclerosis from before my birth) is not arthritis. He will write you a letter." Seven years as a high school social studies teacher, feeling middle-child middling, I asked how he, a famous physicist, had come to father two history majors and a sociologist? "Man's greatest question is the nature of his relation to the Universe," he had replied, "While physics probes the nature of man's relation to the Universe, history probes man's relationship to his fellow man." I decided on my career freshman year, when, after supper, wearing my pajamas -- real red 'Doctor Dentons' with the feet, the flapper, & red shawl-wrapped, a dorm-mate, looking up, offered, "Elly, you'll make a perfect grandmother."
Now with seven grandchildren, my career-dream has come true. Self-employed since after our first child, I have run a number of businesses from home, including landlady, Happy Mother Childcare, quilting classes, Cabin Fever Calicoes (1977-1985) a mail-order quilt-shop. Since 1983 I have written 20 books on appliqué and Album Quilts. I had never written a book, but in 1983 Spoken Without a Word was easily written, quickly, and with fervency. I was enthralled by these old quilts seen first on exhibition, and I thought I understood that these quilts were speaking to us without words. My next thirty years sang with Baltimore's Album Song as I learned the style and joined so many inspiring colleagues around the world, replicating or innovating, a 'revivalist' style.
A 30th Anniversary (of the book, of the international Baltimore Album Quilt Revival movement) Edition of Spoken Without a Word, 24 Faithfully Reproduced Patterns from Classic Baltimore Album Quilts and a Lexicon of Their Symbols will debut in late 2014. That book's manuscript, voluminous, divided nicely into two parts. The first focuses on the Baltimore Album Revival, and offers a reprint of the original, including many contemporary photos. The second, which I hope to release the following year, will explore Baltimore's Antebellum Art Movement.
In 1995, I founded The Elly Sienkiewicz Appliqué Academy®, an annual appliqué and quilt study conference each February in Williamsburg, Va. The Academy celebrated its 19th year in 2014 at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, an annual week-long teaching conference with a large faculty. Top-rate teaching leavened by all-Appliqué daily exhibitions, good food, and girlish fun earned 'Academy' the affectionate nickname 'Ms. Tesaa' even with 'never-able-to-be-there' friends who followed Tesaa's activities on my 'List Visit' newsletter. At this point, the Academy has closed to allow me more time to focus on my writing.