The best legacy you can leave is to have had a positive influence on others during your lifetime. Ann clearly did that in so many ways: through her research work, through her music, through her interacting with others and, probably most vividly, through her quilt making.
Her medical research work back in the 70's was instrumental in the release of the now commonly used, anti-breast cancer drug, tamoxifen. Ironically, this was one of the drugs that she later used herself during her struggle with breast cancer.
She composed or arranged more than 100 pieces over the years, starting while she was in graduate school - ranging all the way from duets to full orchestral compositions. Many of these pieces are still being actively performed in high school and college bands, big bands, church choirs and various other groups, so they live on as well.
The memories that many have as a result of interacting with Ann over the years will be hard to duplicate. As her husband and best friend for nearly 27 years, I have more than most.
The results of her years of quilt making, however, are not as visible to more than a handful of people who have ready access to some of Ann's pieces. Rather than just store them away in a closet, I felt they deserved to be shared for their beauty and impact. They tell a story of not only the development of Ann's quilt making skills, but also of her life. Probably the most profound observation out of all of these is how much her Christian faith influenced her quilt making in light of the cancer diagnosis.
The Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio (Ann's hometown) has been gracious enough to host a showing of Ann's quilts in conjunction with their annual quilt show this spring. The timing couldn't have been better the show opens on what would have been Ann's 50th birthday - but for those who can't make it to the show, I wanted to have some way to remember and appreciate Ann's quilts. That is the reason for this book.
Ann spent quite a bit of time honing her craft and we are fortunate that she documented much of it through show applications, email messages and even comments made for her own web site. Much of what you will read in this book is those comments taken verbatim, so you can hopefully gain insight into her thinking about the quilt design and production process.
Any undertaking such as this book has many people involved. I know that I will be leaving out many who have helped me on this project, but I want to particularly thank the following: Ann's mom Helen Foth and dear friends Judy Martin, Anne-Marie Littenberg, Jeanne Creighton and Heather Urquhart for their help in reviewing the manuscript and filling in holes in my understanding of some of the quilts' history; Richard Johns and Erik Goetze for capturing so many of the works on film; Joe Doll and Erik Goetze for creating Ann's original web site and Erik for capturing the book so well into this online form; Mary Jane Scott for connecting me with Prodigy Press; Kathy Noverr for capturing Ann's spirit in her wonderful design and layout of the book; and Carolyn Sauder for agreeing to host the show of Ann's quilts starting on Ann's birthday (which also gave me a deadline for this book). To them, and all of the rest who were involved, please accept my heartfelt thanks. But most of all, I'd like to thank Ann for creating such a wonderful collection of artwork for us all to enjoy. Thanks, Ann. We miss you.
One of Ann's favorite quotes is from the April 1991 Quilter's Newsletter Magazine article by Nancy Taylor titled "The 12 Commandments of Quiltmaking":
"...3. It's okay to spend money on fabric.
People collect stamps, toy trains, old bottles, salt-and-pepper shakers; we collect fabric. They spend money on their collections; so do we. ...[Fabric] is a raw material from which we fashion our creative expressions. Watercolorists need paints; ceramicists need clay;... quilters must have fabric in order to create quilts. Fabric is relatively inexpensive; it is harmless; and it brings us pleasure. ..."
I hope that this book brings you pleasure.
Greg Merrell, April 2001
PS These quilts and comments are permanently on display at Ann's web site at: http://ann.stamm.merrell.org