Marie Seneschal has been busy sewing all year getting her quilted blankets ready for the children. She is also lovingly known in Marco as the “Quilt Lady.” Having more time on her hands due to COVID-19, Marie has doubled her efforts in finishing more quilts and adding to her ever-growing pile.
Last December, Marie added Al’s Pals Mobile Pantry to her distribution list. She made the trip to Manatee Middle School to distribute her quilts to the families and children of East Naples. For Marie, this was a very special treat to meet the families and hand–deliver the quilts to the delight of the young boys and girls.
On Friday, November 13th, for the trip to Manatee Middle School, Marie stayed home, but volunteers from Al’s Pals included her blankets with their food distribution. Al’s Pals is a volunteer organization started by Allyson Richards and Lorraine Corva to make a difference. They believe that by working together “we can be the change in the world.”
According to Allyson Richards, for this Friday’s trip to Manatee Middle School, they distributed food to approximately 550 people and that Marie’s blankets were a HUGE hit!
Marie also has bundles ready for Golisano Children’s Hospital, St. Matthews House, and the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, and she continues to add more quilts daily. Marie anticipates that she will finish 200+ blankets by Christmas.
Quilting is her consuming passion and her sewing machine, her workhorse partner, goes through several repairs each year. Her dining table is littered with cut pieces of cloth; threads of assorted colors, fabric shears, pins and batting materials. The less cutting she does, the sooner the quilt is finished.
Marie is thankful to friends who have provided her with fabric pieces. Fairfield Batting Company has donated the quilt batting—this is the inner layer of the quilt that makes it thick and warm. Marie does sign her quilts with the Year and her Age in red indelible ink in every quilt. She remarked that she signed her paintings and the quilts are now her works of art.
Marie says she has been sewing since she was a child, and when she became a mother, she made quilts for her children. Sewing is a cure for sleepless nights; there is a quilt waiting to be finished or pieces of fabric to cut and sewn into the patchwork.
Marie is truly an artist—it takes artistic talent to put those pieces of cut fabric together to form a quilted tapestry. According to Marie, it takes at least 12 hours to finish a quilt, and sometimes more. A crazy quilt takes longer since the cloth pieces are irregular and anything goes and sometimes it will have 100+ pieces.
Marie likes her quilt to be bright—no gloomy colors in her bundles.
Each quilt is a personal story from Marie. As she gathers her uncut fabric pieces, a story evolves in her mind. Each piece is hand–selected and carefully sewn into the quilt.
Marie was recently awarded Marco Island’s Foundation of the Arts (MIFA) 2020 Artist of the Year. Due to COVID-19, the presentation was at MIFA’s President, Karen Swanker’s residence and guests were kept to a minimum. Marie is a very accomplished artist with several of her art pieces displayed in her home.
Marie does have a life outside of quilting. She is an active member of the Catholic Council of Woman at San Marco Catholic Church and an active member of the Marco Island Woman’s Club.
To stay in such good shape, Marie maintains a daily routine. After her breakfast, she takes 15 minutes to exercise on her recumbent indoor exercise bike. Since Marie can’t go for long walks anymore—the indoor bike keeps her legs and upper body strength. Marie, at 91 years young, will tell you that she has no intention of slowing down.