Saturday, March 6, 2021

Arnold Savage, an Old Friend


Arnold Hegy Savage (1926-2020)

I didn't realize until this week that we'd lost our old friend Arnold Savage just around Christmas time last year. We'd been writing each other for decades (he was an old-school letter writer.)

Christmas card 2010

Christmas was always important to him and he made dozens of hand-made collage cards to send each year.

House built in the 1840s

About ten years ago Karla Menaugh and I drove to visit him in his lovely little Ohio house. We had to go because for years Arnold had been sending me swatches of fabric he'd found in the attic of the  house, which had been in his family for generations. I had to see that attic.

Here at an American Quilt Study Group seminar he shows some of the things
he "found in the attic," as he used to tell me.
I have swatches of much of the fabric displayed here

The attic, the second story, was rather small as you can see from the photo. A guest room, really with
a lot of boxes under the beds.

He was quite the record keeper. Swatches usually arrived with
hand-written notes about which family member had worn the
print or used it in a quilt.

One way to thank him for his generosity was to create
a line of reproduction fabrics from his family prints.

Print and color names recalled his family and the neighborhood.
I think he seriously enjoyed this.

The document print

The reproductions from 2009.

Arnold was a real delight. I so loved hearing about his younger days. He was a championship figure skater, a professional cellist and he loved making quilts throughout his life.
"Arnold was an accomplished cellist, playing first chair for the Cleveland Philharmonic and fourth chair for the Cincinnati Symphony for over 20 years. Arnold was also an accomplished figure skater, competing until the 1980's when he turned 62. He was part of the famed US figure skating team in the 1950's and 1960's, and fortunately was not on the 1961 flight that killed all the US members travelling to the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Arnold continued his passion for skating as a judge for state and regional competitions until the 1990's, and taught at Oberlin College in northern Ohio." From his obituary.
His quilts often used old fabric and blocks incorporated 
with new ideas.

I know he sent many other friends (and places like the Quilters Hall of Fame) swatches and letters about quilts and fabrics. He will be remembered with fondness and gratitude.

Read his obituary here:


Nann said...

What an interesting life! Thanks for sharing Arnold's story.

sue s said...

I think you've mentioned him before. A wonderful person to share his art with you and others. Sorry for your loss.

JustGail said...

I'm sorry you lost a friend and fellow quilter. Arnold sounds like a cool person to have known. And for him to realize the value of all that fabric that most would have tossed in the dumpster is wonderful. It's a good thing he knew better due to his quilting abilities.

kristie said...

I am sorry for your loss. He sounds so interesting and love his notes and organization. Oh the stories those fabrics could tell.
I never knew that your line Arnold's Attic was because of him. Really cool tribute.

ytsmom said...

Very interesting. I have some Arnold's Attic fabric that one day will make its way into a quilt. I loved hearing the story of the name of the fabric line

Quilting with Patrice said...

Barbara, so sorry to hear about the passing of your friend. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of him.

Susan Thornton said...

Barbara, I bought Ohio Autumn, 1890-1910 (the blue colorway) on a perfect Ohio November day at a wonderful quilt shop in Shiloh, Ohio, south of Oberlin, and alternated Shoo Fly blocks in the colors of the fabric with the Ohio Autumn blocks. I need to hunt up Magnolia, Ohio, and see that beautiful house in real life. Thanks for the introduction to Mr. Savage.

Angie in SoCal said...

What a remarkable man. He's the same age as my mother who'll be 95 this April. Would like to see more of his quilts. Thank you for sharing, Barbara.

Pieceful Lady said...

Thank you for sharing Arnolds interesting life with us. I am sorry for your loss.

Pam Patches said...

What an amazing life! Thank you for sharing. Would you consider re-releasing Arnold's Attic range of fabric as a tribute to Arnold and Alice.

Anonymous said...

Dear Barbara, thank you for sharing this beautiful story about Arnold. How fitting for him to have a fabric line. Is the line available to quilters now, in 2021? He surely touched me, by reading your share. I read his obituary and thought, even though he was ill as a child, it certainly did not keep him from living a full life. A creative one. amazing.

Janet O. said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderfully talented and giving individual.

San said...

What a wonderful person to have known. How lucky that he recognized the importance of those attic finds. (Not everyone would.)

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

San / Gypsy Quilter Designs

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

What a touching tribute. A very creative and generous person. I got choked up seeing that you'd created a fabric line from his attic finds.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Such a special man. I had read that he was a cellist, but I had no idea he was a champion figure skater. What a wonderful life. I loved the Arnold's Attic collection and now I know the story of the "attic". Thanks for sharing this wonderful tribute.