This is a photograph of “The Last Supper” quilt that is in full view inside the sanctuary of Mount Olive Lutheran Church.
(SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY AL STILLEY)
By Al Stilley
A project that began two years ago has culminated into a quilt that is the envy of the craft in the sanctuary of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in the far southwest-side of Greenwood.
Within the 15-feet-by-5-feet panel is a quilted image of one of the world’s most revered artworks in history, Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The quilted depiction of Jesus and the 12 Apostles rests above the sanctuary in full view of all who enter.
The quilt was unveiled in a special presentation and viewing late last month. From beginning to completion, the expansive artwork was meticulously quilted and pieced together by the Mount Olive Quilt Ministry that also has an international reach.
“This (ministry) is a meaningful way for our church to serve and to share God’s love,” senior pastor Jeff Alexander said.
“The Last Supper” quilt had its beginnings when two quilt ministry members saw a wall hanging of a replica painting in a shop in northern Indiana. Deanna Richason and Linda Humbles searched and found a counted cross-stitch pattern and bought it to show the ministry.
Jane Loudermilk of the quilt ministry explained the painstaking but inspirational path of the quilt from start to finish. At the presentation, she said there are 52 different colors, nearly 48,000 one-inch squares, and grid-numbered backing fabric to piece together in small sections to create the final piece. A frame was built by church board members and the quilt was stretched, taking seven members to hang the quilt onto the wall.
Loudermilk recalled, “We had no idea what we were doing when we started out; it was a huge learning curve. Our one-inch squares were packaged with each color in its own bag. Our completed sections were 17 inches by 44 inches and then the separate sections were sewn together. We really had no clue what it would look like because we were doing sections.
“It was challenging, but there were no disagreements; just a matter of how long it would take us to finish it,” she concluded.
Quilt team members who took part in the project included Loudermilk, Richason, Humbles, Melissa Bade, Sandy Drapper, Roseann Gary, and Phyllis Shutters.
The symbolism of “The Last Supper” painting was explained by Alexander, who emphasized the facial expressions depicted of the Apostles.
Finished mission, comfort, and banner quilts were draped over all pews during the official presentation and viewing of “The Last Supper” quilt in the church at 5171 W. Smokey Row Road.
Members have made more than 400 quilts for the Calvary India Mission that are sent to Ambur, a village in South India; 115 comfort quilts for those suffering from terminal illnesses and hurricane victims through Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Myers, Florida; and 100 quilts and 150 pillowcases to local charities.
“I love the fact that the talent we have here is displayed in our sanctuary,” office administrator and quilt team member Janine Owen said. “I didn’t grasp in my mind the impact that the finished quilt would have on our congregation. It reminds all of us of the center of our faith – Jesus Christ.”
Janine Owen, office administrator and quilt ministry team member, talks about the history of quilting at the church.
Quilt ministry team member Jane Loudermilk holds a sample of the backing used on “The Last Supper” quilt.
FACTS ABOUT THE CREATION OF THE LAST SUPPER QUILT
*1 full coverage cross stitch pattern.
*52 DMC embroidery thread colors matched to factory inventory.
*1” squares of cut fabric, finished at ½”.
*47,752 squares of fabric used.
*3 rolls of 20-foot 1” gridded fusible interface used.
*376 rows wide by 127 rows tall (188” x 63 ½”).
*6 panels used and sewn together to create the whole piece.
*Size 60W thread used for sewing rows.
*Brother Model SQ9285 sewing machine used.
*Black fabric markers used to add definition to some features.
*2 teams of 2 members pressed squares to the interfacing.
*1 member dedicated to pressing seams.
*1 member dedicated to bobbin winding.
*3 members worked on sewing the rows.
*All members offered support and encouragement.
-Courtesy of Mt. Olive Quilt Ministry Team.
These quilts were among the numerous quilts crafted by the quilt ministry team that were draped on the pews recently during the public presentation and viewing of “The Last Supper” quilt.