Scleroderma Patient Crafts Honor Veterans and Stress Outlet

Leonard suffers diffuse scleroderma with positive lupus antibodies, a condition she has endured for 25 years. She developed her interest in arts and crafts as an outlet for stress and achieving relaxation, she said.

Lucy Leonard Flag 2012Crafting to honor military veterans,    local quilt named Top 3 in U.S.
Monday, May 28, 2012 2:00 AM MST

By Jayne Hanson, Today's News-Herald

Local military veteran Lucy Leonard, who served with the U.S. Navy for five years, crafted “Old Glory,” which is a patriotic U.S. American Flag-themed quilt, to honor the memory of fallen military servicemen and servicewomen, and disabled military veterans.

The project is dedicated to all Chinese-American military veterans who’ve served since the Civil War, Leonard said in a prepared statement.

The quilt is one of three selected in its category for entry into the 2012 National Veterans Art Competition. It was one of 1,873 entries nationwide, according to a notification letter Leonard received from the National Veterans Creative Arts Program.

Furthermore, the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help veterans to recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities, according to the website.

Leonard suffers diffuse scleroderma with positive lupus antibodies, a condition she has endured for 25 years. She developed her interest in arts and crafts as an outlet for stress and achieving relaxation, she said.

The festival facilitates veteran art displays in 53 categories in the visual arts division ranging from oil painting, to leatherwork, to paint-by-number kits. Also, there are 120 categories in the performing arts such as music, dance, drama and creative writing, the website stated.

The quilt, currently on display at the VA Boston Healthcare System in Boston, Mass., is set to be judged by arts and craft communities in that city. Leonard will craft communities in that city. Leonard will learn of the quilt’s place in the national competition later this year. The winner travels to the festival, she said.

The notification followed the quilt’s first-place award during the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System Veterans Creative Art Festival after being judged in mid-February. The quilt’s category is Fabric Art kits.

“Old Glory” is a 100-percent cotton quilt measuring 71 inches in length and 44.5 inches in width. The quilt pattern is called “Celebrated Craziness” and has gold-threaded quilting featuring the lyrics to the National Anthem within the design’s white stripes.

Leonard worked about an hour a day from November 2011 to January in order to complete the quilt. The quilted design was completed with the help of Linda Visnaw, also of Lake Havasu City, Leonard said.

Leonard, who took up sewing a few years ago, said the activity is rewarding. “It’s a Zen thing,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to come out with.”

Leonard also sews to create items including clothing, yoga bags, table runners and other quilts. While in the U.S. Navy, Leonard worked in clinical laboratories at military hospitals and was later recalled to serve during Desert Storm, she said.

The quilt has toured competitions and thus been displayed in Lake Havasu City; Prescott, Ariz.; Denver, Colo.; and Boston, Mass. Leonard plans to continue entering the quilt in other competitions. “I’ll tour it three years, and retire it,” Leonard said.

Reprinted with permission by Today’s News-Herald, Lake Havasu City, Ariz. 

 

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