Perhaps best known for her 27 years of television programs, Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel, and her series of books associated with the program, Bonesteel has made a lasting impact on quilters at home and abroad. Her television series alone has reached millions, helping to educate a whole new generation of quilters each decade. Author, teacher of international renown, founder of a flourishing quilt guild and quilt pattern club; pioneer and inventor of tools as well as techniques; hostess and coordinator of quilting tours and cruises, Georgia Bonesteel has continually striven to encourage originality and innovation among her far flung students.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Bonesteel first appeared on television in New Orleans teaching sewing for Sears, Roebuck and Company in the early 70s. With her move to Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 1972, she soon added traditional quilting to her skills. She began teaching quilting at the old Flat Rock Center, and it was here that she first experimented with the idea of quilting in sections so that one could carry the work wherever one traveled. Encouraged by a family member to approach UNC-TV about a teaching series, her first 6-part series was launched in 1980, with a full 13-part series added in 1981 as a result of enthusiastic public response. Bonesteel was teaching at Blue Ridge Community College by 1982, and selected as the Featured Artist at BRCC’s 5th Annual Arida Arts Symposium in 1997 and honored a second time at the 10th anniversary of Arida Arts Symposium along with 9 other previous honorees. In addition to her own active teaching career, Bonesteel is an active member of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, National Quilting Association, American International Quilting Association, and the American Quilt Study Group.
By Karen B. Alexander, Quilt Historian
Photo courtesy of Georgia Bonesteel
"Many of the quilters explain that before, quilting had seemed such an overwhelming task, but lap quilting has made it both possible and plausible."
Introduction to More Lap Quilting
with Georgia Bonesteel, 1985