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Susan Schrott: Mitzvah Quilts of Love posted: 8/3/2004
by Carolyn Lee Vehslage Printable Page
Category: Quilting Method: All Series: In the Studio
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When quilt artist Susan Schrott’s daughter Elizabeth was preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, Susan was inspired to do a mitzvah of her own. Susan says, “Everything I do, I do with intensity, passion, integrity and rhythm. I believe in doing mitzvah (charity) in my life. It fuels who I am and my passion for doing. It comes from within me and allows me to care for others.”

Susan organized the “Quilts of Love” project for the 700+ students ages 5-13 of the Temple Sharray Tefila in Bedford, New York. Rabbi David Greenberg and Yonni Wattenmaker, the Director of The Religious School, completely supported Susan’s efforts from conception through to hand-delivery of the quilts.

In 2003 Rabbi Greenberg brought the first two quilts to Tel Hashomer-Shiba Hospital/Rehabilitation Center outside of Tel Aviv and to the Children's Pavilion of Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel. In February of 2004, he took the second two quilts to a school in Rishon Lezion, Israel. One of those quilts will be displayed in a memorial room for the Israeli students killed while serving in the Israeli Army.

(Adults L-R) Yonni Wattenmaker, Rabbi Greenberg, and Susan Schrott (in blue)

Yonni Wattenmaker aided Susan in developing the themes for the 12” quilt blocks. The ideas included Jewish history, culture, holidays, ethics, traditions, and biblical quotes. The children worked in groups of four using fabric markers to depict the imagery. With so many children participating, there were enough quilt blocks to create four 7 feet by 7 feet quilts!

Susan Schrott hand tying a Quilt of Love
Susan took the quilt blocks home, arranged them, and machine sewed them together. She added blue borders and appliquéd yellow Jewish Stars around the finished quilt. When asked about the color choice of the stars she said, “It was not a conscious reason for choosing yellow. It was a gut decision. I felt it was more joyous on the quilt and more powerful than [the traditional] white would have been. I used yellow to represent confidence and solidarity.”

She also created a label on the FRONT of each quilt that included the pertinent information about who helped make it, when it was made, and where it was made. Susan felt it was important that once the quilts found their homes in Israel, anyone seeing them would know they were a gift of love.

The quilts have beautiful yellow ribbon tabs along the top edge for hanging. Temple Sharray Tefila students, parents and staff helped hand tie the quilts. Amazingly Susan says, “When I work, I work; I release a tremendous amount of adrenaline so the entire project took about one week. Now I am preparing to work with the school to create “Quilts of Love” for Children's Hospitals here in America. It will be in honor of my younger daughter Rose's Bat Mitzvah in September 2005.”

Elizabeth and Rose in front of Susan Schrott’s art quilts

When asked about her own art quilts Susan says, “My hope is that viewers feel moved, excited and curious when they experience my artwork. There is unquestionably a theme in my work and that theme is WOMEN... I love to create images of woman that exude a sense of freedom, health and spirituality... birds appear again and again, and as well as trees, flowers, petals and animals.

“Surrender to Joy” © Susan Schrott

"For more than a decade, I have been exploring how the use of fabrics, threads, and embellishments can be quilted to become works of art. My artwork is deeply personal, inspired by my inner life as a woman, my family and an unrelenting passion for authentic self-expression. I aspire to create images of women who feel good about themselves. They are not fearful, anxious or burdened by voices that clutter their ability to enjoy life. My women dance, love, inspire, are passionate and at peace with themselves. They respect those who came before them and they give birth to those yet to come."

To see Susan Schrott’s art quilts or learn about her lectures and workshops, visit or contact her at

©2004 Carolyn Lee Vehslage
Freelance writer Carolyn Lee Vehslage’s artwork is in private, corporate, gallery and museum collections around the world. Her quilted Computer Collages are viewable online at

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