Julianne Donofrio’s documentary “Pieced Together” will be shown at Chipper Hall on Friday, August 11, at 7:30pm as part of Cozad’s Quilts Around the Block. Sponsored by the Wilson Public Library, the event is free and open to the public.
"Pieced Together" is the first documentary film about the American quilt square trail movement. Directed by Julianne Donofrio, a Peabody Award-winning producer and veteran of ABC News, “Pieced Together” tells the story of how Donna Sue Groves’ love for her mother changed the American landscape - and saved her life after job loss, breast cancer, and multiple health concerns.
Donna Sue Groves had an idea: pretty up an old barn for her mother Nina Maxine, a celebrated quilter, by hanging a wooden square painted to look like a traditional quilt block. But why stop with just one square? So Donna Sue got together with her neighbors in Adams County, OH and created a driving trail of squares hung on barns thinking it would attract tourists looking for a day trip who might then stop and spend money on gas, food, or crafts made by local artists. The first quilt square was hung in 2001; the idea sparked a grassroots phenomenon and a new form of American public art.
Filmmaker Julianne Donofrio stumbled upon a quilt square in Tennessee in 2009 and learned of Donna Sue Groves through a “pink” web page created by the quilt trail organizers in Garrett County, MD. They were raising funds for Donna Sue who had lost her job and was battling breast cancer.
“I guarantee you, that had it not been for the quilt trail community, that I would not be here today,” says Donna Sue Groves.
To date, 39 U.S. states and parts of Canada have quilt square trails - all done by community organizers, volunteers, men and women, young and old - and there are countless squares found on barns, garages, and fences from California to Tennessee to Prince Edward Island. Donna Sue never planned on creating a cross-country community but it is this very community of friends and strangers that is helping her put the pieces of her life back together after job loss, breast cancer and numerous health concerns. She is forever comforted by their love, as if wrapped in a quilt made of fabric and thread; only this quilt is special, it is made of plywood and paint.
“I feel honored to witness and document what will one day be a chapter in our American history,” says Director/Producer Julianne Donofrio.
Since 2009, Julianne has followed Donna Sue's journey, interviewed organizers and volunteers, and documented quilt trails and events in California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio. “Pieced Together” debuted at the National Quilt Trail Gathering in 2016 and was an Official Selection of the 2016 River’s Edge International Film Festival. Julianne was also an official participant at the 2017 Appalachian Studies Association Conference in Blacksburg, Viginia.