Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:
In 1985, Nettie White was approached by Enoch Kelly Haney, State Representative about creating a quilt of the Oklahoma state flower, the Gaillardia, sometimes known as Indian Blanket. Haney wanted a quilt that would represent the state flower and honor Oklahoma’s Native American heritage. White was at the time teaching Home Economics at Konawa High School. White agreed to the project and began work on the quilt in 1986. She finished it in just three months.
White’s quilt was removed and stored for the historic renovations of the Oklahoma State Capitol that took place from 2015-2022. The quilt has recently been re-hung and currently hangs near the visitor entrance at the state capitol. White used her scrapbook to relate the history of the quilt to the historians and preservationists at the Capitol so that they could create a narrative that would soon accompany the quilt display.
Recently, White and friends, all residents of Epworth Villa took a tour of the state capitol. She was able to show the group her quilt and relay the origins of the quilt.
The quilt is a postage stamp quilt with 3,000 pieces. White noted that the five primary colors in the center of the flower represent the Five Civilized Tribes. The border is the Seminole pumpkin blossom and is hand quilted while the rest of the quilt was machine quilted. White had to make a graph of the quilt to ensure the colors were correct.
White said that she was honored to be chosen to create the quilt. In addition to the quilt, White also created a scrapbook that documents the process of its creation. The scrapbook includes photographs, newspaper clippings, and handwritten notes. It is a treasure trove of information about the quilt and its creator.
The Gaillardia quilt is a beautiful and intricate work of art that is a testament to White’s skill and creativity. It is a fitting tribute to the state flower and a reminder of the importance of preserving Oklahoma’s heritage.
Representative Haney’s passion for Native American culture and traditions is also evident in his art. He created The Guardian bronze statue that sits prominently on the Capitol dome. He used his own family members as models for the 17-foot statue. Haney’s own grandfather was chief of the Seminole Tribe in the 1940s.
White’s quilt and Haney’s statue are reminders of the importance of the power of art to connect people to their heritage. They are treasures that will be enjoyed by generations to come.
You can also hear more of White’s story here: https://youtu.be/nfwRvaFUMgg?si=YBty38_LhlvO8ATQ