Originally Published: July 5, 2018 6:05 a.m.
Win a one-of-kind quilt
Raffle tickets for the “Hannah’s Heart” quilt to benefit the Coalition for Compassion and Justice and the Prescott Unified School District Family Resource Center are now on sale – one for $5, 3 for $10 and 7 for $20. The tickets can be purchased through CCJ at 531 Madison Ave., the resource center at Washington School on Gurley Street or by contacting Diane Iverson, the author and illustrator of the book — firstname.lastname@example.org — that will be performed on the stage of Prescott High School’s Ruth Street Theater on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. Those tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students.
The raffle drawing will occur at the final showing of the play.
The quilt is an oversized Queen Quilt at 90 inches by 90 inches. The block sizes are 12 inches each. An embroidered square with hearts in the corners on the back of the quilt reads, “May this quilt bring peaceful slumber & answered prayer to all who lie beneath it.”
Hannah Meadows may be a fictional 10-year-old girl growing up in Depression-era Prescott.
Just the same, this little girl with a very big heart inspired a group of local quilters — the quintet of fabric artists call themselves the Kwazy Kwquilters — to transform her simple, hand sewn “heart” Christmas ornaments into a quilt to be raffled off in December to benefit the Coalition for Compassion and Justice and the Prescott Unified School District’s Family Resource Center.
Hannah’s creator, author/illustrator Diane Iverson, CCJ’s now retired founder and special projects director, is giddy with delight over how her young character is shining a light on the importance of heart-felt generosity, then and now.
A year ago Christmas, Iverson released her 21st illustrated storybook, “Hannah’s Heart.” The story revolves around a Prescott-based ranch family struggling to survive the Depression. Hannah is the eldest of five children. With Christmas approaching, and no money to buy gifts, Hannah opts to use her limited sewing skills to make heart-shaped ornaments so she can buy presents for her own family.
The book showcases many of Prescott’s historic places, including the Elks Theater where Hannah goes to sell her hearts after their shows.
Iverson’s imagination and “heart” for her community prompted a partnership with local playwright, Melanie Ewbank, to transform “Hannah’s Heart” into a stage performance scheduled to debut at Prescott High School’s Ruth Street Theater on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., with a Dec. 1 performance at 7 p.m. a Dec. 2 matinee performance at 3 p.m. Proceeds from the tickets — $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students — will also be donated to CCJ and the resource center.
Little did Iverson know the book, play, and the “heart” behind her character, would lead to yet another philanthropic endeavor — the quilt will be the big prize for the final performance of the play. The very first raffle was sold to one of the quilters’ hairdresser Deborah Thornton — raffle tickets are 1 for $5, three for $10 and 7 for $20. The only caveat for the wall-size quilt designed and stitched by these individual quilters is the raffle raise at least $1,000 — with all the proceeds again to benefit CCJ and the resource center.
One day last week, the quilters unfurled their creation outside the front lobby at PUSD’s Washington School district office — home to the resource center. Iverson and the leaders of the organizations, who will benefit from the talent and artistry of these women, could not resist a lot of “oohs and aahs.” They were incredibly impressed that each individual block reflects a heart or something that connects to Hannah’s story — the 36-block raffle quilt a true masterpiece that speaks to the heart and souls of its makers. One of the blocks is of a flower with seven petals, each one reflecting a member of Hannah’s family.
What makes this quilt even more special is not only why it was made but because the entire project was started and finished — complete with two matching quilted pillows by member Debbie Watters — in a month. The quick turn-around was intended to give CCJ and the resource center adequate time to sell tickets and promote the purpose of serving members of this community, who need a little something extra to get them on a new path to dignity and independence.
Ewbank said she is delighted to see Hannah’s “heart” touching the heart of so many others.
“To see others bringing the heart theme forward is astounding to me,” said Ewbank, noting Iverson’s story speaks to the powerful force of doing good for the sake of others.
“The response from the community to this (story and play) from the community is huge,” she said.
CCJ Executive Director Jessi Hans said this project is a showcase of community talent and “heart.”
From Iverson and Ewbank’s story and script to the heart ornaments, and now this quilt, Hans said so many people in the community have been touched by Hannah’s generosity that they want to give back.
CCJ and the resource center both serve families in need, offering both practical assistance as well as encouragement and support as they strive to find resources to benefit their children. The dollars they receive from this effort will go to support and expand on those programs.
Quilter Kate Burnett admits the group was not familiar with the book when they agreed to make the quilt. Once they started, they did. Hannah’s heart for her family and community was infectious, fueling their passion for the charitable endeavor — no two of the 9, one-half inch blocks is the same.
“All of us are community-oriented and believe in giving back to the community,” Burnett said.
“The book is all about the blessings of life in community,” Iverson said. “Look at the magic we can create when we all work together.”
Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @HutsonNanci. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2041.