Wednesday we celebrated the finish and hanging of the 2011 quilt. It will be on display in the stairway of the Early Learning Center until next weeks "Gala".
So, what is the quilt worth? Certainly, in the past, the auction quilts have brought in quite a bit of yen to the American School. When that check is written, however, it is written as a donation to the school and that parent would probably be making a big donation anyway with or without the incentive of a quilt.
Each of the quilts we have made is a one-of-a-kind quilt. Each quilt has had a large cast of characters (I say that with a smile) involved in the planning and making. Sometimes we spend money on fabrics and sometimes we dig into our various stashes. It is usually a combination of both.
It would be difficult to count the hours spent as many blocks went home with someone between sessions and not all the work was done in the group. I would be willing to wager that should all the hours be added up, the planning, the shopping, the marking and cutting, the piecing, and the quilting and finishing, and the price figured at the minimum wage x the total of each person's time, no one could afford this quilt.
Then we get into another aspect of values added. Those most certainly include the dedication of the women themselves, organizing, coming to help, offering a place to meet, giving advice or encouragement, and the warm friendships made here.
I once looked at some quilts on consignment at a quilt shop in the states. I was shocked by how low the asking prices were. I could not even buy the fabric in Japan for what was being asked.
Even if they had been pieced by machine, many were quilted by hand and must have taken months to complete. I think of those quilts often when my husband suggests I sell some of my quilts to pay bills. I think of my grandmother's quilt and my mother's quilt. I would rather give them away to someone who would love and cherish them and skip the meals they might buy.
So ... what is the value of this quilt? I'm certain at the end of the auction it will go home with a new owner. Even with a struggling economy it will be enough to cover the fabric and supplies. It will remain a good reminder of someones time lived in Japan and spent at the American School. What else? We never know.