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When you walk into the LIRA office in Fox Hall on the fourth floor, you might notice the LIRA quilt hanging on the wall before you. This is an account of the history of the logo and the quilt along with the logo in the hoop on the wall.

In 1990, a contest was held to design a logo for LIRA. Ilse Schenk won the contest and the original design is shown below. The comments she made are quoted verbatim from the sheet that has the design on it.

Some of the thoughts that occurred to me while developing this icon.

  • The “L” in us which is the light
  • “I” in LIRA stands for IN:
    • INspiration
    • INsight
    • INtuition
    • INtellect
    • INgenuity
    • INfinity
    • INward
  • Tree of life and light
  • Light at the heart of the tree, at its growth center
  • Candle: Symbol of celebration and ritual, fire, warmth, light and love

- Ilse Schenk, Spring 1990

Apparently, nothing was done with it until 1992, when I am assuming that she redesigned it for the quilt as it was told to Suzanne Knapp by Charlotte Feldman.

In 1992, a piano was loaned to LIRA with the proviso that it be kept covered. Charlotte Feldman, a LIRA member and a quilter, had the idea to make a quilted cover for it. A design contest was held, and Ilse Schenk, a professional artist, won hands down with her tree design symbolizing life and learning. The quilting project was begun with a group of enthusiastic, though mostly inexperienced, quilters led by Charlotte. No money was allotted for the project, so "leaves" were sold for $1 to LIRA members who wanted their names to appear on the quilt, and $15 was raised. Charlotte designed the quilt from Ilse's drawing, matching her colors with fabrics bought with the money raised. Group quilting sessions were held at the New England Quilt Museum in its former location in the Market Mills.

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Recently, someone asked me about the quilted wall hanging in the LIRA office. Since the question had come up before, I thought perhaps other members of LIRA might be interested in how this hanging came into being. First of all, it did not originate as a wall hanging. Actually, it started life as a piano covering for a piano that was in the room at the Mogan Center, where LIRA had its beginning.

The quilt was a project of a quilting class started by Charlotte Feldman, wife of LIRA’s first president, Alan Feldman. After learning the basics of quilting, the class designed and created the cover of the piano. It was not an easy project to design a cover for an upright piano. The beautifully appliquéd logo of LIRA was centered on the front of the upright where the music rack would be. The multicolored strip piecing, now at the top of the hanging, was stretched across the top of the piano. The pieced squares, representing the various aspects of learning, were on each of the sides of the piano and the serpentine vine of leaves was across the keyboard. Each leaf has the signature of the person who donated money for the fabric ortook part in making the cover. Charlotte herself fitted the cover to the piano and assembled it, a difficult task that involved precise measuring and fitting.

Unfortunately, some time later, the owner of the piano requested to have it returned. The dilemma was what to do with the cover? With all the devoted efforts that went into the making of this project, it was felt that it should not be stored away somewhere out of sight. The problem was solved by Suzanne Knapp. Besides being a computer expert, Suzanne is also a noted fabric artist. She carefully re-assembled the piano covering into the hanging that now decorates the wall of the LIRA office.

Betty Sampas

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Charlotte Feldman, who designed the LIRA quilt and led the project to create it, came across a sample of the appliquéd tree that she had made to test the design and colors. She had originally thought of using it as a cover for a LIRA scrapbook, but offered it for any use that we saw fit. Jean Dettman and I discussed it and thought that having it in a form that could be displayed would be the best way to preserve it for the enjoyment of LIRA members. When I saw an oval embroidery hoop at Michael's in just the right size and that even included a hanging loop, I knew that was the answer. I did a small amount of quilting to bring out the design, mounted it in the hoop, and hung it in the LIRA office on a hook that was already there waiting for it! There's a label on the back documenting its origin.

Suzanne Knapp

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In recognition of LIRA’s 15th anniversary, each LIRA member received three gifts at the 2004 Annual Meeting: a Page Pal, letter opener and a small alarm clock. The existing logo was much too complicated to be put on a letter opener and a page pal. Suzanne Knapp designed a new, modern logo that was adapted and simplified from the original logo that is on the wall quilt, hanging in the LIRA office.