Unique and expensive quilt stolen from Ocean View art studio


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A special and expensive piece of art is missing and now the artist is hoping for its safe return.

Someone stole the artwork from Ocean View Arts studio in Norfolk.

It’s a very colorful quilt with a lot of detail.

The owner is hoping whoever took it will have a change of heart.

When you walk down the hallway outside Meryl Ann Butler’s art studio, you’ll see pieces of her students work – but there’s now an empty space where one of her works used to be.

“At first it was sort of a shock,” Butler said.

Butler had a quilt hanging on the wall, but on Friday she noticed it was gone.

“It feels like a violation of my space. Immediately, it was like my heart dropped,” she said.

The quilt is of an ancient Egyptian goddess Isis, the goddess of the arts, healing, birth, death and resurrection.

Butler created two copies of the piece in 2001. The duplicate quilt is now owned by a Virginia Beach resident while the other hung in the hallway. She said it took her almost a year to make. 

“Lots of beading, semi-precious stones and hand-dyed fabric,” Butler said. “There probably was $1,200 worth of materials in it.”

Butler estimates the work has a value of $5,000 but said it could retail for double that amount.

She said this is not the first time she’s been through this.

“I appreciate that people love my art but I would prefer for them to pay for it rather than steal it,” Butler said.

Butler believes the quilt was taken last week.  She shares the building with other businesses and visitors use a buzzer to get inside.

It’s not clear how many people have key access to the building.

Butler said she’s not angry – she just wants her work returned.

“A person who’s happy and content with themselves isn’t going to steal something like that so really what I would want would be some kind of healing for that person,” she said.

Again, there are two quilts like this; one is owned by a Virginia Beach resident.

Butler is offering a $200 reward for information leading to the quilt’s return as long as it’s still in condition to be sold.

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