At the Bellmore Memorial Library, art lovers can dive into a soft and comforting show, and view the work of accomplished quilter Jessica Alexandrakis through the end of April.
Growing up near Chicago, Alexandrakis said she was always surrounded by crafty people, and that she fell in love with quilting after playing with her great-grandmother’s fabric scraps. She moved to the East Coast to attend college, and has resided on Long Island since 2008.
A certified English as a Second Language teacher, the coronavirus pandemic prompted a career change, she told the Herald last month.
“I don’t think my story is unique in that I decided to start a business after lockdown,” she said. “I did find that my priorities shifted in the pandemic, as many people’s did.”
Throughout the summer of 2021, she made quilts in Nassau County parks, and taught sewing outside to anyone who wanted to join her. “I was really trying to get people back into being in the community, in person,” she explained. “And I suppose that was about when I decided to make it my life mission to teach everyone on Long Island how to sew.
“I do now have my business focused on teaching, and not so much making art quilts that I sell and put in galleries,” she added. “I definitely enjoy being in a room full of people who want to create things, and just watching their creativity open up — especially when they find that it’s really not that hard. It’s just a few steps, a few skills, and you can do it.”
Alexadrankis hosted an opening reception for her work in the library’s community room on March 4. As a teacher of quilting, she hosts classes online. She said the reception was a great way for her to meet some of her virtual students.
“The best part of the whole thing (was) that I got to meet so many of my Zoom students in person,” she said after the reception. “We’ve seen each other week after week on the screen, so today’s meeting was really special.”
Alexadrakis runs Life Under Quilts, a website that features her work, blog, published work and more. Having worked with libraries in the past, she said Bellmore Memorial has been especially helpful in allowing her show to come together.
“I would like to give a big shout-out to the library, because they’ve been such a pleasure.” Alexandrakis said. “I never thought I would ever have an opening reception for my own art show.”
While the prices of quilts and other items won’t be displayed at the library, anything that is on exhibit can be purchased. For more about Alexandrakis’s work, her business and items for sale, go to LifeUnderQuilts.net.