Catherine Joan Pigford


Catherine Joan Pigford. Known to everyone as "Joanie," "JP," and "Fairy Godmother," passed away peacefully on April 4, 2019, at the age of 74. Joanie was born June 16, 1944, in Wilmington, North Carolina, the daughter of Joseph Harrison Pigford and Jeanne Ireland Pigford. During Joanie's youth, she spent many summers at Camp Nakanawa in Crossville, TN. She completed her high school education at the Brooke Hill School for Girls in Birmingham, AL. Upon graduation, she attended Converse College then transferred to The University of Alabama earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and Studio Arts from UAT in 1966. She received her teaching certificate from Samford University in 1967 while working as a medical research assistant at The University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine. From 1974-1978 Joanie served as the Director for the Alabama Breast Cancer Project through UAB and during that time she earned her Masters of Public Health from UAB. Following her time at UAB, Joanie turned to the Craft Arts and was immersed in creating, educating, and supporting the Art Guilds for the rest of her life. She was a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Alabama Designer Craftsmen, American Craft Council, American Quilt Study Group, British Quilt Study Group, Canadian Quilt Study Group, Handweavers Guild of America, National Council on Education in Ceramic Arts, Southeast Fiber Forum, Textile Society of America, The Quilter's Guild of Great Britain, The Collector's Circle - American Craft Museum, Renwick Alliance, Tile Heritage Foundation, Tennessee Association of Craft Artists, Craft Organization of Director's Association, Seattle Weavers Guild, American Tapestry Alliance, Los Alamos Piecemakers Quilt Guild, and Northern New Mexico Quilt Guild. In 1999 Joanie attended a textile symposium in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she met a weaver who invited her to her Taos, NM studio. Weeks later Joanie returned to Birmingham, packed her car full of all essentials and moved forever to the Southwest. Though she maintained a permanent residence in Birmingham, she spent the rest of her years in Taos, NM. Joanie continued to support Art Guilds and Schools all over the country including Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Southern Highland Craft Guild's Folk Art Center, Southeast Fiber Forums, Tile Heritage Foundation Conferences, Southern Quilt Symposiums, Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference, Taos Institute of Arts, and Taos Clay. Joanie was a weaver, an artist, a dancer, a cut-up, a quilter, a purveyor of outhouses, and a fairy godmother to all. She had a passion for quietly helping those in need, instilled in her by her mother. Over many years, Joanie became very close to many of the Native Americans of Taos Pueblo and considered them her adopted family. She greeted everyone "Aho," a Native American word with multiple meanings - hello (Lakota), thank you (Kiowa) and amen (Cherokee). Joanie is survived by her brother, Joseph Harrison Pigford, Jr (Betty) and nephews, Scott Pigford (Anissa), Michael Pigford (Chrissie), Patrick Pigford; sister-in-law, Dana Bass Pigford, and nephew, Richard Ireland Pigford Jr. (Courtney). She is preceded in death by her brother Richard Ireland Pigford. Instead of flowers, please consider donations to Camp Nakanawa (www.campnakanawa/centennial) or the Taos Pueblo Foundation ( Joanie's graveside memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at 1:00 pm at Elmwood Cemetery, 600 Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Birmingham, Alabama 35211. All are encouraged to attend.


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