The Black Modana Quilt

The Black Madonna Wall Hanging, created by Charlene P. Mills and Marilyn Y. Gore, is a quilted adaptation of a stained-glass window located in the Annie Merner Peiffer Chapel of Bennett College for Women, Greensboro, North Carolina.  The late Eva Hamlin Miller designed the Bennett College Black Madonna. The wall hanging was presented to Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, President, at Marilyn’s 30th class reunion. To create the quilted wall hanging, Charlene progressively enlarged a Christmas card photograph to a 26’ by 58’ template.  She then drafted pattern pieces on 7’ by 7 ½’ acrylic graph sheets sections.  Fabrics were hand-dyed by Charlene in the appropriate colors and a black fabric was selected to create the 5/8-inch wide bias tape to depict the window leading. Marilyn used paper-piecing techniques to create the window and then hand stitched the bias tape at appropriate seam areas. Using appliqué techniques, Marilyn hand stitched the two Bennett Bells located at the top of the wall hanging and the Black Madonna. To create the book cover and Bennett wording, Charlene, first, scanned the hand-dyed red fabric design into the computer.  She then used word art to select the fonts for the wording and impose it on the scanned copy.  The design was then copied onto fabric and attached to the background piece. A gold and red trim was selected to highlight the Bennett book. The wall hanging was then hand quilted by Marilyn. 

Charlene followed in her mother’s footsteps and began sewing at the age of seven.  She is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC, Central Piedmont Community College and East Carolina University. Charlene received a degree in Fine Arts with a fabric design concentration.