Since 1978 when her television program, Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel debuted on North Carolina Public Television Georgia has been one of the most watched and notable teachers in quilting. Her methods and designs respect traditions and push quilters to explore creativity.
A longtime seamstress, Georgia attended Iowa State University and graduated from Northwestern University. A Home Economics and Merchandizing degree enabled her to get a job in the Fashion Department of Marshall Field & Co. after college. Marriage and three children took the Bonesteel’s to New Orleans where she renewed to her love of sewing. There she was a repeat guest on a sewing and craft television program where she learned valuable television skills.
This experience started a small business called Cajun Quilters, where she made original designed quilted patchwork evening bags from necktie scraps and sold them in the French Quarter. She never forgot the very first bag ever sold. It came back the next day with pins inside. "So, I had to finish it on the spot", she said. One time while stitching on a bag on an airplane the gentleman sitting next to her had the same material in a tie he was wearing.
After moving to North Carolina in 1972 she became interested in full size quilts and began teaching at Blue Ridge Community College in Hendersonville. Soon after her Mother suggested she share her teaching skills on television. Twelve series of Lap Quilting programs over a twenty five year period along with many books and appearances have endeared Georgia in the craft she loves with all her heart.
In 2005 Georgia partnered with her son, filmmaker Paul Bonesteel, to produce the documentary The Great American Quilt Revival. The film features many of her generations well known quilters, historians and collectors discussing their art and their role in the revolution of modern quilting. Touching on the first quilt revival began by early quilting innovator Marie Webster, to the work and influence of the Amish and African-American traditions, to the overwhelming response of quilts mourning the recent wars and 9/11 tragedies, The Great American Quilt Revival captures the story of quilting in American culture.
Georgia’s most recent book, Scrap Happy Quilts by Georgia Bonesteel is both a memoir of her life in quilts and new fun and inspiring projects and patterns for quilters of all skills. Today Georgia lives a busy semi-retired life with her husband Pete in Flat Rock North Carolina, volunteering her master gardening skills to the community and her own garden, while continuing to create quilts projects on a daily basis.
"Many of the quilters explain that before, quilting had seemed such an overwhelming task, but lap quilting has made it both possible and plausible."
— Georgia Bonesteel