Ellen Godbey Carson


December, 2002

There are quilters and there are quilters… and then there’s Ellen Godbey Carson. The attorney with Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing has completed more than 50 quilts that are as intricate as they are wildly original. When was the last you saw a 10-foot-long dragon emblazoned on a blanket? Or how about a Palauan dive spot, replete with fish, sharks, octopi and turtles, recreated with needle and thread? Have you ever seen bunches upon bunches of bright yellow bananas put to fabric? We’re not talking about your grandmother’s quilts.

Godbey Carson, who learned to sew as a young child, began quilting in college when her mother gave her a bedside quilt. Godbey Carson does her intricate needlework while watching television or during long meetings. She finds the precise handiwork relaxing and a good outlet to burn her impressive amount of creative energy.

“Quilting is a nice break from my work,” says Godbey Carson. “My job isn’t like a contractor or engineer. I don’t see concrete results from what I do very quickly. I don’t build structures or other things that you can see change on a daily basis.”

Godbey Carson gets the ideas for many of her designs from her other hobbies: gardening and scuba diving. Her husband also helps with a few suggestions. Therefore, there are a handful of her creations that are especially dear to her. However, most of Godbey Carson’s quilts, which take anywhere from 40 to 120 hours to complete, are given away as gifts or donated to charity. Last Christmas, she gave away 14 of her labors of love to benefit the Institute for Human Services, the Women’s Legal Foundation and the Justice Foundation.

“All I ask is that people donate at least $300 to the charity. They’re all good charities,” says Godbey Carson. “And I try not to calculate how many dollars per hour that figures out to be.”

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