How To Make A Panel

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Each panel is meant to be a personal memorial to someone who has died of AIDS. Many panels are made privately by individuals remembering a person they loved, but we hope you will follow the traditions of old-fashion quilting bees and include friends, family and co-workers. You may make your panel at home, office, school or at our chapter's quilting bees where people gather to make panels in a supportive atmosphere.

The memorial panels that make up the Quilt have been made by all sorts of people, in all kinds of colors, fabrics and styles. You do not have to be a professional artist to create a moving personal tribute. It doesn't matter if you use spray paint or fine needle work - any remembrance is appropriate.

To create a panel just follow these 6 steps:

1. Design the panel
Include the name of your friend or loved one and please limit each memorial panel to one individual. Feel free to include other information, such as the dates of birth and death and a hometown.

2. Choose your materials
Because the Quilt is folded and unfolded many times, durability is crucial. A medium weight, non-stretch fabric such as cotton works best. Your design can be vertical or horizontal, but the finished panel must be 3 feet by 6 feet (90 cm x 180cm) and avoid putting anything at the extreme edges of the panel. When you cut the fabric, leave an extra 1-2 inches on each side for a hem. Batting or backing is not necessary but not discouraged.

3. Technique
You might want to consider the following techniques when constructing your panel:

Appliqué: sew fabric letters and small mementos onto background fabric. Don't rely on glue - it won't last.

Paint: brush on fabric or textile paint or color fast dye, or use permanent (indelible) marking pens. Don't use "puff" paints that come in a tube because it is too sticky and will come off.

Stencil: trace your design onto the fabric with a pencil, lift the stencil, then use a brush to apply textile paint or indelible markers.

Collage: whatever materials you add to the panel, make sure they won't tear the fabric (avoid glass, sequins and sharp metal for this reason) and please avoid very bulky objects.

Photos: the best way to include photos or letters is to photocopy them onto iron-on transfers, iron them onto 100% cotton fabric and sew that fabric to the panel. You may also put the photo in clear plastic vinyl (available at most fabric stores). When you sew them onto the panel, do not place them in the center where constant folding and unfolding is likely to damage them. You might also consider silk screening the image onto fabric and stitching that to the panel.

When your panel is finished, hem it to be exactly 3'x6'. If you can't hem it yourself, The NAMES Project will do it for you.

4. Archive Information
Please take the time to write a one or two page letter about the person you've remembered. Include your relationship to the person, how he or she would like to be remembered and maybe a favorite memory. If you can, enclose a photograph for The NAMES Project archives with the letter.

5. Panelmaker Information
Please make sure you include the following information (or complete a Primary Panelmaker Information Card): your name, address and phone number (and others who may have helped make the panel), cities in which the panel should be displayed, your relationship to the person for whom you've made the panel, and the person's full name if it isn't included on the panel itself.

6. Contribution
If you can, please make a financial contribution to help pay for the cost of adding your panel to the Quilt. The NAMES Project depends on the support of panelmakers to help preserve the Quilt and keep it on display. Checks should be made payable to: The NAMES Project

You may present your panel locally to our Chapter at our panelmaking workshops, dedication ceremony or general meeting or mail to:

The NAMES Project NYC
75 Varick St., Suite 1404
New York, NY 10013-1917

All materials submitted become the sole property of The NAMES Project Foundation and cannot be returned or reclaimed by the sender. The NAMES Project retains all copyrights on materials submitted.