Artful Alchemy

Physically Challenged Fiber Artists Creating

Edited by Anne Copeland

With the assistance of Barbara Williamson

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Publication planned for late August 2017

© 2017 by Anne Copeland

This book contains a collection of beautiful art, plus the personal stories of the 23 multi-talented contributors. The common thread through their lives is that each woman has overcome physical and other challenges to become a successful artist in the textile medium.

Many of these women have websites and sell their work through the Internet sites, while others sell in galleries, exhibits, or through their teaching. Some create to speak to political and other social issues, while others use their quilts to educate the public about their physical challenges. If you have dreamed of expressing your own creativity, this book will provide the inspiration you need.

Additional editing and proofreading by David and Leonore H. Dvorkin
Cover art by Laura Jean Freeman
Print layout and e-book production by David Dvorkin

The Story Behind the Book

With deep thanks to Barbara Williamson

What started as a very small nonprofit that assisted physically challenged artists with getting exposure for their work and teaching them professional development has culminated in this book and the stories of 23 physically challenged women artists and their creative work.

The nonprofit was called Fiberarts Connection of Southern California, and it existed from 2005 to 2015.

This whole idea started when I met a woman named Barbara Williamson. I had been thinking about starting a nonprofit, and had some ideas for what I hoped to achieve with it, but until I talked to Barbara, nothing was clear. Barbara had called me because she was a paraplegic who quilted, and she wanted to create a business with her quilting. Talking to the Small Business Administration volunteers, she was told that quilting was just a nice hobby and that she could never make a business of it. I was frustrated upon hearing that, because I am very much in support of ALL people who dream of starting their own business being able to have the right and the support to do it.

Over the many months that followed, Barbara and I talked more, and we quickly became good friends because of our common interests. Barbara was my hero, because despite the severity of her injuries, she was volunteering to help me with getting the nonprofit going and even volunteered her caregiver as the treasurer. So with the help they provided, we were able to get the little nonprofit going. I wrote our bylaws with great input from Barbara and made sure that everything could work from a distance. We finally received our certification as a valid nonprofit that would make no more than $10,000 a year. Throughout all the years Barbara and I worked together, we consulted each other on many issues, such as what exhibits we would hold next and any difficulties that came up. Without her help, this organization would never have existed.

When this book was started, we consulted each other on who, how many, and what types of physical challenges we would try to represent via some of the 100+ quilters we encountered. Although Barbara did not do direct editing of the book, she gave me the feedback to help with the number of the quilters, the types of physical challenges, and the quality of the work we wanted in the book. She checked with many organizations that work with the physically challenged to get information for us. She did hours of research into the specific quilters and the nature of their challenges, and we made changes along the way as we needed to. She gave me a lot of wisdom about some of the challenges that helped me to understand them better. We had to get new quilters several times after people we wanted to use passed on, or we lost them as we got closer to finishing the book because they had decided they did not want people to know much about their physical challenges, a common problem.

I wrote this piece to acknowledge Barbara for all of her many contributions to this book.

— Anne Copeland, Editor

Purchasing Information

Links to online sites where Artful Alchemy can be purchased will be added here as they become available.


Links to purchase the e-book edition of Artful Alchemy in various online stores will be added here as they become available.

Print Edition

The print edition of Artful Alchemy is available at the following online stores:

Contact Information

Anne Copeland

Phone: 909-509-9533

Barbara Williamson

Phone: 530-876-9731
Member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates)