Local quilt artist remembered
Southborough – The Deschamps family honored Alice Deschamps and the 10th anniversary of her passing the best way they knew how: on Oct. 26, the Southborough Community House held an exhibit "Celebration of Quilts" displaying the works of the traditional quilt artist. The works, which covered three separate rooms, was a fitting tribute for the Southborough native who devoted her life to traditional quilt making.
"We thought it would be a good way to memorialize her and invite friends, family and former students of hers," said Tim Deschamps, one of Alice's sons.
The community came in large numbers to catch a glimpse of the quilt work. The family was happy to have that kind of response.
"We've had a great crowd," Tim said. "Over 100 people [showed] up."
It was also a chance for family members to see just how much work Alice had put into her craft. Seeing all the quilts spread out helped revive some great memories of Alice.
"It's also a chance for us to see some the work that many of us hadn't seen in a long time," Tim said.
Alice came to Southborough with her husband following her time as a cook at a Coast Guard base in Washington State through World War II. She continued her dedication to making quilts, which she picked up from her mother, and it was not uncommon for her to devote multiple months to a single project. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Alice held quilt shows, selling many of her works. She taught quilting for adults at night at Assabet Valley Regional Technical, Keefe Technical and Algonquin Regional high schools. According to her family, she enjoyed her teaching experience.
"I think the enjoyment she got from teaching was from passing the craft on," Tim said. "She recognized it as a … craft and an art form. It was her way of perpetuating the craftsmanship she had learned as a child."
The Deschamps family thought the Southborough Community House was the perfect spot for the exhibition because it held a special place in Alice's heart.
"This was a place she had a lot of fond memories of," Tim said. "It was also very central to many of her family and friends."
Later in life, Alice concentrated on creating quilts for family members. It was her way of creating a legacy.
"I think it was the fact that she was creating something unique that could be given to a family member that would remind them of her," Tim said.
At the exhibit, several quilts had information cards describing the works, written by a family member.
""I think she would be very proud," Tim said. "She was very proud to show her work and talk with other quilters and even people who knew nothing about this and just give them a little inkling of what it takes to do an art like this.
"She got a lot of satisfaction from the smiles on people's faces."
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