Nancy Lyon


Since its inception, Nancy Lyon has been the secret power behind Bleak Beauty. A founding member of Bleak Beauty Books, she had edited books and photographs, done sound recording and assisted in film editing. The daughter of a seamstress, Nancy has been making quilts since 1977. These quilts are made of cotton, hand quilted on a wooden frame and often contain over a thousand individually sewn pieces. (The Nine Patch Tea Cup quilt has 1620 individual pieces, plus the border strips. The Bear Paw, with its border of hundreds of small triangles, contains even more.) Quilting, originally a way of making bed covers out of scraps, is an indigenous craft that goes back in the Americas at least to the 18th century. Nancy has never exhibited her quilts, or offered them for sale. A rarity in this world, she is content to make the quilts for the sheer joy of making them. Each Tuesday she quilts with the United Memorial Methodist Church Quilters of Modena, New York, where she is the recording secretary. Nancy, who was born in Chicago in 1949, is the mother and step mother of four children.


Picture Essays