Making Blocks at the Cashiers Library


When I told Serenity, Head Librarian of the most wonderful Albert-Carlton Cashiers Library about The 70273 Project and asked if we could use the community room to hold a block-making party, she answered with an enthusiastic Yes . . .  then she suggested we hang pieces of the collaborations in which I stitch the marks of Nancy, my mentally disabled sister-in-law. And with that,  plans began for the first solo exhibit for Nancy and me.


The Engineer and I arrived about 10 this morning to help Serenity and Sarah hang pieces. (What would I do without The Engineer? He took these pictures, too, you know. And he fixed my skirt when I came back from the restroom with it tucked in my panties. He loves me, you can tell.) It is the first time many of these pieces have felt air outside The Dissenter’s Chapel & Snug. (Note: In Our Own Language 3 will go back to the drawing board to remove and restitch a few of the drawings then create a better hanging system. Will this one ever be completely finished????)


When In Our Own Language 1:1 and 2:1 proved too long and puddled on the floor, I pulled out needle and thread and hemmed to keep people from stepping on them or tripping over them. Nancy’s drawings proved a fine backdrop for the afternoon’s block-making party, just as Serenity knew they would.  


My cousin, Ginger stopped by and made some blocks, as did . . .










The Engineer,
and several others who made blocks
and others who took fabric home to make blocks
with their friends and families.

Megan plans to ask her family and the youth she works with
make some blocks.

Serenity likes the project so much,
she offered to tell her colleagues in other libraries
and suggest they invite me and hold a block-making party
at their libraries.

Gretchen teaches art at a nearby private middle school,
and she seems almost as excited as I am
about her idea to approach the social studies teacher
about a possible history lesson followed by
block-making session.

She also raised her hand to piece and quilt a quilt.

Sarah plans to make more blocks
and tell her friends who work with
special needs folks about The 70273 Project
and encourage them to make blocks.

Ginger took a bundle of bases
to create blocks with her friends
when they go to the beach.

You get the idea.


Folks were willing – interested, even – but nervous.
“I can’t sew,” fell out of many mouths of people
who nevertheless picked up a needle and stitched.
“I can’t draw,” others said
then picked up a marker and sketched.
Stories were told, memories were shared.
Many were commemorated, and many were celebrated.

It was a good day.


  1. Kitty Sorgen

    Sounds like a wonderful day, Jeanne! Bless you for starting this Project that brings ‘remembrance’ to those lost, and to those with challenges, who live among us today. <3

    • whollyjeanne

      And bless you for being a part of The 70273 Project, Kitty. I don’t know what I’d do without you. You were there with us today, in spirit and in story.

  2. Chloe

    I love the happy ending – so many many people feel they can’t do a thing until they just get on and do it. The same goes for those with what society judges as a dis-ability: they just find a way to get around it, with the support and encouragement of others. You are endlessly inspiring Jeanne. Glad you’ve got the Engineer to pick up those loose ends too! 🙂 xx

  3. judy martin

    The exhibition in the background looks beautiful! Congratulations to you and nancy. xo And continued good luck on the 70273 project.

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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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