©1977, Jinny Beyer. 80" x 91"
One of America's best known quilting teachers, lecturers, authors and fabric designers, Jinny Beyer created "Ray of Light" in 1977.
The quilt won the top prize over 10,000 entries in the Great American Quilt Contest sponsored by Good Housekeeping Magazine.
Jinny began quilting in 1972 when she and her family lived in India and Nepal.
"I came home from India very much interested in Indian fabrics and textiles so I didn't like the fabrics that I found in the early 1970s here. They were little multi-print calicoes, they were mostly pale and pastel colors, and because I'd worked with those Indian fabrics, I liked that richer, a little more sophisticated look.
"I think when my quilt won the Good Housekeeping contest in the 70s and was in a magazine, it was very different from most of the quilts that were being made at that time, and so I think people looked at it in a little different light. Mainly because it was dark and it was a different use of fabrics and a different use of colors but I did that mainly because of living in India and loving the fabrics and having that influence and being there.
"I didn't choose to go down this path. My quilt making started out as a hobby and then pretty soon somebody said, 'Would you teach a class?' and then I taught a class and then somebody said, 'Well this is really interesting, why isn't there a book?' and so I thought 'Well there should be. So maybe I should write a book' and then just one thing led to another.
"It isn't like I sat down one day and said I want to be doing what I'm doing today, it's just like a slow road and you kind of just keep following the doors that open."