Tamassee-Salem MHS adds third panel to Quilt Trail

July 17, 2014

SALEM — Tamassee-Salem Middle High School has added a third quilt panel to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

The quilt, called Grandmother’s Choice, was chosen by the faculty and staff to honor one of their students, Alayna Cobb as well as staff member James Poland “for their bravery and perseverance in the midst of medical struggles.”

Cobb was diagnosed with cancer in November 2012, and Poland, who had completed treatments for cancer, was a real inspiration to her and to the students at Tamassee-Salem Middle High School.

It was Cobb’s grandmother, Ruth Porter of Salem, who with her sister Joyce Poore, made quilts for their six siblings as Christmas gifts.

Porter quilted off and on for many years but she purchased the original quilt from the Tamassee DAR Thrift Store and then gave it to Cobb’s family. Since they don’t know the official name of the quilt pattern, they chose the name Grandmother’s Choice.

“I have always been a sentimental person,” Cobb said. “However, since my cancer diagnosis, I hold even little things sentimental. Before I completed my chemo treatments, I had some photos taken of me with my brother and cousins with Nana’s quilt. This quilt is very special to me.”

Marianne Jackson, the art teacher at TSMHS, used her Artist in Residence funds to sponsor this addition to the trail.

“Alayna was in the seventh grade when this quilt was chosen to be on the trail,” Jackson said. “She took the lead in choosing colors and working with her fellow students to replicate the design perfectly. She missed the first half of the 2013-14 school year due to her treatments, but when she returned, it was as if she’d never missed a day. She was one of the most hardworking and dedicated art students, putting her heart and soul into her work – something not all students do.”

Jackson said art helped Cobb make it through a trauma most children could never fathom.

“She told me that if her wish for the Make A Wish Foundation was chosen, it would be to have an art studio built in her yard with all the fixings, materials and tools she would need to create, design and make art however she wished,” Jackson said.

The pattern is known as a patchwork, joining four squares of material to form a larger square. In its simplest form, the block is constructed for four plain squares of fabric. The four patch lends itself easily to endless variation because each of the squares may also be made up of numerous smaller pieces pieced together.

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