Karen Alexander

(Hazel Carter (l) and Karen Alexander, in front of the "Star of Bethlehem" quilt by Hazel Carter)

Karen Biedler Alexander's lifelong interest in textiles began as a result of being exposed to the textiles of other cultures while living overseas twice as a teen-ager and visiting some 21 countries before the age of 20. Born in " West-by-God-Virginia", she grew up in Northern Ohio, but her deep family roots in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia drew her back again and again.

Her specific interest in quilts began in 1977 with the first quilts her mother-in-law (Wini Waters Alexander of Seattle) made for Karen's three children.  When the family moved from California to Richmond, Virginia, in 1979, Karen reconnected with her roots in the Shenandoah Valley and took up quilting herself. In 1981 she started a newsletter for the Richmond Quilters Guild, and joined the newly formed American Quilt Study Group. While living in Richmond Karen co-founded a children’s division of the Virginia Guild of Needlewomen and served as its first Director; taught quilting to children while working at the Richmond Children’s Museum, and designed and sold her own small quilted pieces through Rocky road to Kansas in Old Towne Alexandria.

Four years later it was on to New Orleans. After 6 years in New Orleans as a convention planner of financial and investment conferences, Karen returned with the family to Virginia, and began writing her own genealogy newsletter about her paternal Biedler side of her family, in addition to her freelance quilt history articles.

Karen offers lectures on “The History of The Quilters Hall of Fame”; “How to Document the Family Quilt; and “A Brief History of Quilting from 1750-1950: using her doll and crib quilt collection. Karen is a Regional Rep for The American Quilt Study Group and has been a member of the Antique Quilt & Vintage Fabric Study Group of Northern Virginia since its creation in 1995. Her interviews of well-known quilt personalities appear in the newsletter of the Quilters Hall of Fame, and her research and writing has appeared in four books to date: “Quilts Are Forever: A Patchwork Collection of Inspirational Stories,” edited by Kathy Lamancusa, published by Simon & Schuster (March 2002); “A Short History of The Quilters Hall of Fame” in “Once Upon A Quilt: A Scrapbook of Quilting Past and Present,” edited by Margret Aldrich, published by Voyaguer Press (Oct 2003);  and “The Honorees of the Quilters Hall of Fame,” edited by Merikay Waldvogel and Rosalind W. Perry (published by The Quilters Hall of Fame June 2004). Her genealogical research “The Biedler Covered Bridge of New Market, Virginia”, appears in “Covered Bridges of Virginia” by Leola B. Pierce, published by Upstream Press (2002).

Karen began volunteering for The Quilters Hall of Fame (located in Marion, IN) in 1997 and has served on its Board of Directors since 2001, becoming its 2nd President in July 2005 when its founder, Hazel Carter, stepped down after 25 years. In addition she co-chaired the opening events for The QHF in the restored historic Marie Webster House in 2004 and co-curated the opening honoree exhibit “Pioneer Influences.” Karen was interviewed for the 2005 documentary “The Great American Quilt Revival” produced by Bonesteel Films and served as a behind the scenes assistant in its making. She has also chaired the annual Celebration of the induction of each year’s new Honoree since 2005 and continues to act as procurator of exhibits for The Quilters Hall of Fame.

Karen has been married to writer/musician Gary L. Alexander for almost 40 years and is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of five.


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