Who is Betty Ford Smith?

Hello, my name is Betty Ford Smith. I was born in New Rochelle, New York in Westchester County. I was raised and schooled in New Rochelle and Mount Vernon, New York. I graduated from New Rochelle Academy and went on to an all girl college – Bennett College in Millbrook, New York to receive an Associate Degree in Fashion Design, Art, Dance, Music and Drama. I then went to Bard College, Annandale on the Hudson, New York to receive a Bachelors Degree in Art, Dance, Music and Drama. I have a Masters in Special Education from the State University of New Paltz in New Paltz, New York and a Masters in Educational Administration from the State University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. I have been a Fashion Designer, Dance teacher, Home Economics teacher, a teacher for Emotionally Disturbed Criminal Teenagers, teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, teacher of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, a Special Education Staffing Specialist, an Assistant Principal and a High School Principal in my 38 year educational career. I taught in New York, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., South Carolina and 25 years in Florida.

My mother taught me to sew by hand a blouse and skirt before using a sewing machine when I was 10 years old. My 6th grade Home Economics teacher encouraged me to further my appreciation for this lifelong skill through fashion shows and pattern making. I still have my first sewing machine my parents purchased when I was in 7th grade. I developed an appreciation for construction, patience, color coordination, vintage garments, quilts and old stuff.

I started making Pine Cone Quilts in 2004 under the apprenticeship of a 92 year old African American woman in Sebring, Florida at her home, after I saw her beautiful hand sewn quilts. My apprenticeship with Arlene Dennis, known as Miss Sue, went on for 6 years and I completed 2 quilts with her supervision. After she passed in 2010, I wanted to teach others how to make Cuckleburr quilts which is the name Miss Sue used for these heavy unique quilts.

I taught a few individuals at my antique store in Sebring and then started teaching this technique at the South Florida State College in adult education programs. My first recognition was a Highlands County Lifestyle full page news paper article in 2005 and from the Lake Placid Arts and Crafts Festival with a ribbon for the People’s Choice Award in 2007 My quilts have been recognized on exhibit at the Jenkins Gallery in Winter Park, Florida and on exhibit at the South Florida State College Museum and twice at the Florida Museum of History in Tallahassee, Florida. An international quilt blogger, Katell Renon in France has written several articles about me and my Pine Cone Quilts one article can be found in the French magazine Les Nouvelles, Patchwork et Creation Textile No 132 2017 The article speaks about the folded fabric technique that I shared while conducting workshops in France. Rachael Daisy from Australia another quilter using folded fabric techniques came to visit me in Florida and she shared our work on her blog. with viewers from around the world.

I have taught at the Folk School at the Maritime Museum in Cortez, Florida, three Florida Folk Festivals in White Springs, Florida and at the Stephen Foster Cultural Center in White Springs, Florida, the Sebring Historical Society in Sebring, Florida and for quilt guilds in Atlanta, Georgia, Williamsburg, Virginia and Southern, France.

I am married to a very understanding man for 33 years. We have a large collection of African Art, Haitian Art, dolls, quilts, books and no children.
It has been an honor and very exciting to have had my quilts exhibited at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, The Texas Quilt Museum in LaGrange, Texas, at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, The Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee, Florida and at the Sebring Historical Society, Sebring, Florida. One of my Pinecone/Pineburr quilts was recently acquisitioned to the Smithsonian collection from Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi’s collection of quilts.

My first book with C &T Publishing is Pinecone Quilts: Keeping Tradition Alive – Learn to Make Your Own Heirloom

 See her website for more info

Betty Ford Smith Resources