Member spotlight: Rod Buffington's patchwork of good deeds

Photo Credit: Whitney Curtis

From the August 2016 issue of The Rotarian

Quilts may be utilitarian objects, but Rod Buffington’s “quilt paintings” – watercolors on paper that are then covered with small bits of fabric – are geometrics where mathematics and whimsy intersect. Buffington, a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield, Ill., didn’t come up with this unusual method overnight. His voilà moment came as he beheld the mesmerizing quilts made by his grandmother, who lived to 104 and continued her craft until she was 98. To create his works, Buffington lays cotton fabric over paintings he has created, then hand-stitches silk thread through the fabric and paper. A work might include more than 1,700 areas of painting or fabric and take as long as 300 hours to complete. A past governor of District 6460 (Illinois), Buffington has used his skills to raise money to support Rotary causes. His Be a Gift to the World painting, tailored to the theme of 2015-16 Rotary International President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, has been reproduced as a print, with more than 100 of the unframed posters sold for $100 each to benefit The Rotary Foundation. In 2003 Buffington inaugurated Rotary Family Day at the Ballpark. Enlisting support from his area district and four others, he and other Rotarians have sold about 30,000 tickets to St. Louis Cardinals games in the past 13 years, raising $355,000 for literacy projects.

The Rotarian