The highly regarded First Mesa quilter and potter Rachel Sahmie (left) and Carolyn O’Bagy Davis hold the Hopi woman’s prize-winning quilt with blocks hand painted with traditional Nampeyo family pottery designs.

Southwestern author, lecturer and quilt historian Carolyn O’Bagy Davis has lived a remarkable life pursuing the history of the Southwest by focusing on strong pioneers and the work they accomplished.  In so doing, she has traveled widely in remote areas, often camping out, in order to understand these pioneers and the culture surrounding them.

One of her abiding interests over the years is quilting—she was the founding president of the Tucson Quilt Guild—and she pursues her passion by writing about the history of quilting in the Southwest, truly amazing pioneer women who also quilted, and the history and changes in quilting on the Hopi reservation.

It is this latter topic that she will discuss in her 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 24) lecture at the Arizona Senior Academy: the history, ties to culture, and changes in Hopi quilting.  She will present this information in a power point lecture, using Hopi quilts from her “trunk” to provide examples.

“Quilts are used in every Hopi household, they are given at the beautiful dawn Baby Naming Ceremonies, and at the end of a Hopi’s life they are used as a burial shroud,” Davis writes. “Hopi women and some men are 4th and 5th generation quiltmakers, and, as the artistic traditions of two different cultures are blended together, it is not uncommon to see a quilt with a traditional Anglo pattern and an ancient Hopi image, such as a kachina or a clan motif stitched on a quilt top.”

Davis lectures at museums, clubs, and universities across the country and is a member of the Arizona Humanities Council Speakers’ Bureau. She has published 15 books on the archaeology, quilting and history of the Southwest; one of which, Hopi Summer, was awarded the “One Book Arizona, 2011.”

Davis will be offering her books for sale.

Written by Virginia Richardson, Academy Village Volunteer

More Info on attending an event
Academy Village is an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East. Its residents support the Arizona Senior Academy, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission includes offering free concerts and lectures to the public.

These events are held in the Great Room of The ASA Building adjacent to the Academy Village Community Center. Due to the popularity of cultural events, non-residents who wish to ensure priority seating are advised to make reservations by email at or by phone at (520) 647-0980. To learn more about the Academy, go to

Parking for visitors is in the lot behind the Community Center. All parking spaces in front of the Academy building are reserved.

The History of Quilting on the Hopi Reservation: January 2018