Who is Karey Patterson Bresenhan?

Businesswoman: Karey Patterson Bresenhan is the president of Quilts, Inc., and director of International Quilt Festival and International Quilt Market. She was founder and co director of the company's European shows, Patchwork & Quilt Expo, for nearly 20 years. She also helped to establish three other shows, EmbellishmentTM, A Victorian RomanceTM, and Quilt! Knit! Stitch! 

Mrs. Bresenhan is a trailblazing woman entrepreneur who opened Great Expectations Quilt Shop in 1974 and helped it grow into one of the largest quilt shops in the country. Her business acumen, enthusiasm for quilting, and perseverance helped her create and foster the quilting industry. She was also the driving force in fostering the growth of quilting in Europe, having started Expo there in 1988. 

Award-Winner: The Quilters Hall of Fame inducted Mrs. Bresenhan into its prestigious Honor Roll in June 1995. She has also received the San Antonio Conservation Award and the Round Top Award “in recognition of leadership in reviving and sustaining interest in the American art of quilting." Her first book won an award from the American Institute of Graphic Design. In 1997, the Houston Business Journal named Quilts, Inc. as one of the "Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses" in the city. In 1998 she was named a Distinguished Alumni of Sam Houston State University, and was later inducted into the Quilter's Hall of Fame. 

Leader: Mrs. Bresenhan is a co-founder of the International Quilt Association, a co founder of The Alliance for American Quilts, a co-founder of the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston, and a founder of the Texas Quilt Association. 

She has also spearheaded nationwide efforts for charitable projects such as securing and delivering quilts to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and raising more than $1 million for the Red Cross fund for Katrina victims, and fabric postcards to wounded U.S. servicemen and women. She is a former board member of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), the nation's leading organization of art quilters. 

Author: Mrs. Bresenhan has co-authored several quilting-related books: the award winning and widely acclaimed Lone Stars I: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1836-1936 and its sequels Lone Stars II: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1936-1986 and Lone Stars III: Texas Quilts Today 1986-2011. Her book, Hands All Around-Quilts from Many Nations, was the first book to document international quiltmaking. 

Her other titles include America: From the Heart, a collection of quilts and stories inspired by the events of Sept. 11; I Remember Mama, the culmination of a three-year exhibit project of quilts that reflected the many aspects of motherhood; Celebrate Great Quilts! which documents the company's corporate collection of antique quilts; Great Expectations, a book about her quilt shop; and Creative Quilting, an anthology of journal quilts from artists all over the world. She served as editor on 500 Art Quilts, a review of current work in the world of art quilts; and a companion book, 500 Traditional Quilts 

Quiltmaker and Quilt Expert: Mrs. Bresenhan is a fifth-generation Texas quilter and an acknowledged expert on quilt dating. She has served as a quilt appraiser, contest judge and juror, and given many lectures on quilt history and artistry. She is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Texas Quilt Museum, which opened in fall 2011 in La Grange, Texas and received prestigious awards, including the statewide Preservation Texas award, in its first year. 

Historian: Mrs. Bresenhan was a director of the Texas Quilt Project, which documented the state's quilt heritage and was one of the organizers and the quilt documentor for the Texas Quilt Search. The three-year project took her to 27 Texas cities and towns, documenting more than 3,500 quilts for the Texas Quilt Archives. It culminated with a showing of quilts in the rotunda of the Texas Capitol to celebrate the state's Sesquicentennial and to kick off a year's tour of museums for antique Texas quilts and of contemporary Texas quilts produced for the Great Texas Quilt Round-Up. A second phase of the Search took place and documented another 1,500 quilts. More than 2000 quilts made in the last 25 years in Texas were evaluated for the third Texas quilt book as part of the third phase of the Search. She is also a frequent lecturer and has curated many special quilt exhibits. 

Collector: A personal quilt collection that includes family quilts, rare antique quilts, art quilts, and quilts made especially for her testifies to Mrs. Bresenhan's love for this art form. Further, through her company, she has developed a fine corporate quilt collection that is often loaned for exhibitions elsewhere. 

Personal: Ms. Bresenhan was born in Gilmer, Texas and has lived in Houston her entire life. She is a graduate of the Houston public schools. She holds a B.S. degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University and a Masters of Journalism degree from the University of Texas. She also studied journalism at the University of Missouri. 

She married Houston attorney Maurice Bresenhan, Jr. in 1963, taught journalism in Huntsville for two years, ran for the Texas State Legislature in 1974, and was an editor and public relations account executive before opening her own business. She was elected Mayor of Piney Point Village in 2008. She is a supporter of many women's and arts organizations.

Karey Patterson Bresenhan Resources