La Grange woman quilts for a cause
Donna Moscinski of La Grange holds up one of the mini art quilts in her home that are sold through the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative's website which has raised more than $878,000 for Alzheimer's research. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 11, 2013 2:21AM
LA GRANGE — Retired high school English teacher Donna Moscinski divides the fleeting hours of her days between visiting her mom who lives with Alzheimer’s disease, quilting and volunteering for a group funding Alzheimer’s research.
Q. How has the disease affected your mom?
A. She’s only 84, but has to have 24-hour care. If there were seven stages of Alzheimer’s, and seven is the most advanced, she’s probably at a six and doesn’t know us many times. In November, she fell and shattered her elbow.
Q. How did you get involved with the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative?
A. In my quilters’ guild, we all made an art quilt as a fundraiser for AAQI. The founder of the group has raised almost $800,000 for Alzheimer’s research through the sale of art quilts, 9 by 12 inches. It’s a grass-roots effort.
Q. How do you help the organization now?
A. I got involved with a volunteer in Evanston who needed help. Now I scan the quilts that come in and post them on our website. Every quilt donated has its own page and there’s an artistic statement from the creator either about what the quilt represents or who it’s dedicated to. Quilts are auctioned online every month. I probably spend 15 to 25 hours a month on scanning and shipping quilts.
Q. What do you like about AAQI?
A. It’s the people who are touched by it, and it allows other to express their emotions through quilting. There’s something really cathartic about it. I got a set of quilts from this one woman, who said in her statement that she was married for 33 years and her husband has Alzheimer’s. They’re doing the best they can, but life is hard. Quilting is a nice emotional outlet, and this organization is raising money for research.
Q. How did you get started quilting?
A. I’ve been quilting passionately since about 1983. My mother always had a sewing machine out, and she always encouraged us to use it. I’ve always known how to sew. After I was married, I saw an article on making a quilt in a day and I tried it and I did.
Q. What do you like about quilting?
A. It’s the colors, texture of the fabric and it’s practical. I’m a daily sew-er. It’s so therapeutic. Sewing is integral for my life; if I can’t do it, I start to twitch. Being involved with the Alzheimer’s group has made me be more selective about what I sew, because I don’t have as much time.
Q. Have your quilts as self-expressions changed over the years?
A. Yes. My involvement with the Chicago Modern Quilters Guild has made me rethink my colors and design choices. I find I’m going in a more minimal and simple style of quilting. That’s my growth as an artist from 20 years ago.