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Nellie Neil's Biography (continued)


She remembered her mother made beautiful and colorful quilts. As a child, Ms. Neal would spend hours watching her mother create wonderful works of art. Quilting was the catalyst for social gatherings at her home and provided the much-needed escape from pressures of the ‘outside’ world. Everyone felt safe and comfortable quilting.

Ms. Neal decided that she would begin where her mother left off – create warm, vibrant, beautiful, works-of-art made from printed fabric that depict various scenes of African culture utilizing the quilting technique known as Trapunto. One Christmas, her oldest daughter, Ceda, asked for something hand-made and decorative to hang in her home.  Nellie had no idea what to do. Nellie decided to hand quilt, using the Trapunto technique, a piece of African fabric, frame it, and give it to her daughter to hang in her home and/or office. She loved it as did everyone who saw it! Since then, as a self-taught artist, Nellie created more than 75 home décor pictures using the Trapunto quilting technique on printed African themed fabric, creating one-of-a-kind, limited edition art pieces that depict various aspects of African culture. Others describe her art as “hand stitched stuffed quilting” which is what “Trapunto” is.

Ms. Neal's customers include Dr. Maya Angelou, poet/author; Dr. & Mrs. Roland Atiase, Austin, Texas and Dr. & Mrs. Alex Dontoh, New York, New York; Mr. & Mrs. Guy Johnson, Oakland, California; Mr. Wilfred Hall, San Francisco, California, to name a few.  Her art is and has been on exhibit at the City of Oakland, California, City Clerk’s Office; Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church, Oakland, California; Construction Systems Building & Design, Inc., San Francisco, California; Westlake Christian Terrace, Oakland, California; Law Offices of Jones & Thompson, Oakland, California; and, Crest Consulting, Oakland, California.

Nellie Neal was an active member of the Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland for twenty-three years. Ms. Neal was a strong advocate for education and excellence. She envisioned a safe place for young people to learn. For 10+ years, she fundraised to establish a Learning Center at Evergreen named after her co-mother and sister-friend, Dr. Maya Angelou. Her dedication and commitment to this dream was infectious.

Unfortunately, Ms. Nellie Neal transitioned on October 9, 2010, and was not able to see her dream of a Learning Center realized. After her passing, members of Evergreen worked to ensure that the Learning Center is finished in 2014.

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