2019 Guest Artist “Mac” Mike McNamara


In 1976 I hand-pieced a quilt for my folks’ anniversary. It was made from shirts, sweaters, linen napkins lifted from the Copley Plaza Hotel. My mom suggested we get Auntie Vee’s old Singer fired up, so I started machine-piecing quilts with the same naivete’ toward measuring, accuracy and color.

In the late 1980s, attention to quilt-making standards went further out the window with the NAMES Project, aka: the “National AIDS Quilt.” Each “quilt” is a 6’ x 3’ commemorative panel. I helped people make these panels for their loved ones while making those for my loved ones.

In 1995, Ann Schroeder suggested that we study with Nancy Crow. Eyes were opened! Marring these many new Crow techniques with the “go at it” attitude of the NAMES Project gave me a strong focus, not only of how to make quilts, but why.

On beds or hanging on walls, my quilts can be seen from Hawaii to Cape Breton Island. One lives in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

My favorite critique: “If kids made quilts, these are what they would make.”

Drew Woods