A WMS graduate uses her talents to quilt for charity.
By Tom Eastman
The Conway Daily Sun, December 24, 2010
CONWAY — Like fellow members of her Material Girls quilting group of Mount Washington Valley, Starr Jordan Moore of Center Conway makes quilts for charity. “We get together twice a month to quilt for charity. There are 30 of us; we have made quilts for such groups as Starting Point, for children undergoing operations, and for Camp Sunshine of Maine, which treats diabetic children. We also make and give quilts to the military families who come to Jackson every December for Christmas Can Cure,” says Moore, a community volunteer who is active with such groups as the New England Ski Museum's annual Schneider Cup, held every March at Cranmore, and Friends of Tuckerman Ravine's annual Inferno Pentathlon every April.
“We also make one quilt a year which is used by RSVP [the Carroll County Retired Senior Volunteer Program] as a fund-raiser, and we also made quilts this past fall for the Stowell family's two children stationed with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Their mom, Sandy, got Our Lady of the Mountains to send the quilts to them,” said Moore, whose two former husbands both served in the military.She creates her wonderful pieces out of wonderfully colored fabric — and love. She notes that her quilts are not only beautiful, but healing for recipients. She made a quilt for young Summer Mohla out of the local young leukemia patient's favorite color, purple.
Moore says she began visiting the valley from her Manchester home in 1948, when her father used to take the family to their cabin on Carter Notch Road in Jackson for ski trips in winter. She and her late husband, Fred, moved to the valley full-time from Nashua in 1995. “Fred was a member of several ski clubs here in the valley. He was past president of the Eastern Interclub Ski League, and past director of the eastern division of the U.S. Ski Association, so he was very well known here in the valley,” says Moore, noting that both she and Fred were FIS officials. “Neither one of us had children; our children were the kids we officiated on the slopes,” she laughs. A medical transcriptionist for 50 years, she retired from North Conway's Memorial Hospital two years ago. She now devotes her time to volunteering, and her crafting business, Starr Jordan Originals.
At a recent Christmas fair held by fellow artisans at the Whitney Center in Jackson, Moore shared stories about her business, as well as about the effect of her quilts. “After all my work as a transcriptionist,” she related, “my doctor advised me to quit knitting, which I had done since I was a little girl, because of arthritis. So, I started making quilts, because although I could not knit sweaters anymore, I could do quilts, because quilting is done with sewing machines.” A lifelong knitting teacher, she began making quilts 15 years ago as a way to keep busy during her husband's declining health.
Fred died eight years ago; she continues to make the quilts, both those she makes as gifts for those in poor health or battling challenges, as well as for her business. One of the first quilts she made was for her late father, who was disoriented and having trouble finding his proper room at a nursing home. “So, I made a quilt for him, which made it easier for him to find his room,” said Moore. After he died a few years later, her mother kept the quilt on her bed. Eventually, her life passed as she lay under that quilt's warmth. Now, with her mother gone, Moore has that quilt in her home. “It's not going anywhere!” she says.
The idea for making healing quilts for others came after she received a call from a local friend when he became sick. Moore helped him get to Memorial Hospital, and then he was flown the next day to Maine Medical. “We had been talking for a year or so about me making him a quilt,” says Moore. “He was Native American. While he was recovering, I began a Lakota quilt for him, starting with an eight-pointed Lone Star, using Native American themes.” Like something out of the American Southwest, it features border squares of two-tone sandstone, surrounding an eight-pointed star emblazoned with interconnected diamonds of teal and purple dancing around a central 12-pointed star surrounding a second eight-pointed star. At each corner, it shows an animal: a wolf, an eagle, bear and buffalo, all with their legs and feathers pointing inward around the central design. The back side also contains many meanings related to the Lakota tradition. That quilt is one of many which may be viewed on her Web site www.starrjordanoriginals.com. The friend survived, and loved the quilt Moore had made.
Soon after, she began making other quilts for friends who were afflicted with illnesses, including cancer. She learned of the poster which shows the many colors of cancer: pink for breast cancer, gold for cancers affecting children, navy blue for prostate cancer, teal blue for cervical or ovarian cancer. “I gave one of my healing quilts in the oncology units at the hospital [Memorial], saying that if anyone came in, you give them this,” says Moore. In time, she gave other quilts to other departments at the hospital, as well as for other patients, including a friend who had breast cancer and then ovarian cancer. “She is back working two years later. It was important to make a quilt for her,” says Moore. She has made six or seven healing quilts over the years. She refuses to take money for any of her healing quilts. “Taking money for the healing quilts would ruin the magic of it for me,” she says. “I am not a trained Reiki teacher, but I do believe I have something of the power of Reiki in me, so, like the laying on of hands, the laying on of a quilt is a good positive feeling for me.” Moore is not a churchgoer — but she believes in God, and her quilts. “I believe in making something healing for people,” she says.
In addition to her healing quilts, Moore makes custom quilts on demand through Starr Jordan Originals. Her quilts now reside in New York City, Washington D.C., California, and Texas, as well as many New England homes. She works with Saima Davis, of The Attic Cat in Effingham (TheAtticCat@adelphia.net ), who machine quilts the finished pieces for Moore's quilts. (She teaches quilting classes there most Thursdays.) Her other products include throws, wall hangings, baby quilts, pillows, placemats, pot holders, trivets, fabric kisses and gifts. She has won prizes at the Fryeburg Fair for her quilts, and is a locally juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, the Bridgton Art Guild of Bridgton, Maine, and the Society for East End Arts (SEA), in Portland, Maine. She is an exhibitor at the Chickadee Quilt Show, Art in the Park in Bridgton and the Arts and Artisans Fair in Lovell, all in Maine. Moore is a member of the Mount Washington Valley Arts Association, the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce and Native American Cultural Center. Her grandfather, father and sister are artists whose encouragement and inspiration have contributed to her designs. All of her designs show her keen sense of color — and artistry. “I listen to people; I look at what types of clothes they wear, and use that as a guide. I create things that people love,” she said.
For more information, write Starr Jordan Originals, 43 Wildwood Way, Center Conway 03813; call 356-8798 or 662-4456 (cell), or e-mail her at StarrJM@roadrunner.com.