Founder of the Home of the Brave Quilt Project in 2004 along with the Citrus Belt Quilters Guild of Redlands, California, Don founded the National Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial Quilt Project in 2011 . The Home of the Brave project started as a way of recognizing the families of the fallen soldiers and a way to show respect for the ultimate sacrifice that these heroes make to keep America safe and sound. The Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial Quilt Project was one started with the intention to make a commemorative quilt with all the names of the fallen from specific areas of the country on one quilt telling their personal stories.
Not a stranger to needle arts, as Don made many projects in cross stitch and embroidery, Don changed to hand piecing and hand quilting in 1992. Don has made "in Honor of" quilts including The Shanksville Memorial, Lets Roll Quilt, the Fallen Timbers Quilt in honor of the fallen police and firefighters from 9/11, The Spanish Rose Quilt made after the Madrid Bombings , a Memorial Quilt for those who lost their lives at Fort Hood and a 2,977 piece quilt for the 9/11 Victims of the Pentagon among many other quilts personally made for the families of the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Don is recognized as one of the nation's experts on U.S. Sanitary Commission (USSC) quilts after viewing and recognizing that a local library was an owner of one of the few surviving civil war quilts. Today, we currently know of only 15 Northern soldiers quilts, though it is estimated that over 250,000 quilts were made for soldiers during the American Civil War. Soldiers quilts of this type were used in hospitals and on the battlefield and even as shrouds upon the soldiers deaths.
In 2011, along with Pamela Weeks, the curator of the New England Quilt Museum, Don published "Civil War Quilts"( Schiffler Publishing) . "This book tells the stories of extraordinary antique Civil War quilts and the woman who made them. Some of the quilts tell love stories, others relate the determination of women seeking an active role in the war effort, and still others reflect patriotish and creative abilities of people caring about others."
Some of Don's works are featured in the ground breaking work, Men and the Art of Quiltmaking, an AQS publicaton, 2010 and he presented a program on his 9/11 quilts, entitled "Remembering with Honor: Quilters Salute Their Heroes" at the 2011 annual American Quilt Study Group Seminar.
His work can be seen all over the country in museums and at national memorials.
Co-ordinator, Massachusett Quilt Project
In November 2013, Laura was at the New England Quilt Museum for a presentation where she had the honor of seeing one of the National Memorial Quilts made in honor of the fallen from San Diego, California. The quilt touched her deeply. She went home with the sole mission of finding out whether or not there was a quilt being made for the Massachusetts fallen and namely a young man from her hometown in Ludlow, Massachusetts.
After reaching out to Don Beld, founder of the project, she asked if she could coordinate the making of the Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial Quilts and set up a web site to co-ordinate the making of the quilts throughout the states.
She is thankful to both the staff and the curator, Pam Weeks, of the New England Quilt Museum who graciously volunteered their time to show her additional memorial quilts and to loan the Pioneer Valley Quilters Guild, the Rhode Island, Maine and Vermont quilt for viewing at their local quilt show.
Laura's favorite saying is:
"We cannot all do great things, be we can do small things with great love." - Mother Teresa
She believes that all who touch this project will do so with honor and with great love.
You can contact Laura by emailing her at
Curator, New England Quilt Musuem, Lowell, MA
Pam Weeks is a quilter, fiber artist, quilt historian and is the Binney Family Curator of the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA.
For eight years she was executive director of ABC Quilts, where the mission was to send handmade quilts to babies and young children born HIV-positive or drug-affected around the world.
Pam’s current focus is on "potholder quilts" a term used to describe the type of quilts that are made block by block. If a potholder quilt is taken apart, the result is a stack of individually finished blocks. The earliest in her study is dated 1837, made in Boston, MA. Several of the extant quilts made for Civil War soldiers or for Civil War fundraising, are potholder quilts. These quilts are perfect for group projects because people can make individual blocks and contribute them to a quickly finished quilt.
Pam gives lectures and workshops and can be found at www.pamweeksquilts.com.