Front Range Contemporary Quilters (FRCQ) began in 1988 as a brainstorming session between three art quilt makers from varied artistic backgrounds: Patty Hawkins (watercolor), Gretchen Hill (quilter) and Marilyn Dillard (weaver). Jo Fitsell (quilter, art teacher), Diana Bunnell (potter) and Laura DeKloe (weaver) were subsequently invited to be a part of the first steering committee. This steering committee originated as a special interest group within the Handweaver’s Guild of Boulder. Early meetings were held in Gretchen Hill’s basement. Attendees were encouraged to bring their own lawn chair.
By May 1989, realizing the potential for a much larger organization, plans were made to become an independent group. In August 1989, the quilt makers formally named themselves Front Range Contemporary Quilters, sending out postcards to welcome prospective new members to the upcoming meetings. Guest lecturers and workshops lead by visiting and local artists such as Joyce Marquess Carey, Rachel Clark, Elaine Spencer, Helen Davis and Doreen Speckman drew substantial interest throughout the first several meetings, enough so that by the third meeting held at the Days Inn in Boulder, the room was full, and there was standing room only by the November 1989 meeting.
Of course the above synopsis does not take into account all of the truly wonderful people who have made FRCQ what it is today. It is the spirit of sharing and volunteerism which make any group successful. The founding mothers are the epitome of those two words, and the people who have followed their lead continue to make FRCQ an incredibly innovative and supportive organization. As Patty Hawkins so aptly puts it, “It is important to welcome each person at each meeting! We all have the same passion for making unique quilts. YOU are what makes FRCQ great!”