Headshot of Artist Prudence Nelmes“I cannot remember a time when I did not have a needle of some kind in my hand. I have always been interested in handmade items, sometimes knitted, sometimes crocheted, woven, or sewed.

I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, but after World War II, I married and traveled to other states. Tarrytown, NY was where I learned to rug hook. As I raised four children, I was interested in handmade clothes. When we moved to Maine in 1970, quilting was going strong with the Bicentennial Celebrations.

I joined a quilt guild and was fascinated by the variety of patterns and their history. So began my career of quilting. I learned a different form of quilting with every class I took. I loved matching colors and creating something of my own by following a pattern. I was even invited to make a square for Kennebunk, Maine’s Bicentennial quilt in 1976.

Prudence Nelmes' Flower workThen came teaching. I loved presenting a pattern and seeing each pupil create something totally different, all their own. We attended quilt shows and displayed our creations. A trip to Amish country influenced the next phase of my work as I began using more applique. On a trip to California, I learned the Quilt-in-a-Day method, which I later taught in a quilt shop. A trip to Hawaii is where I learned their unique quilting style. This led me to another form, the Baltimore Album Quilt, taught by a teacher from Washington, D.C.; the entire quilt is hand-stitched. For me, for the past 40 years, quilting has brought joy, new friends and the chance to be creative.”

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