Since 1975, Elly Sienkiewicz has been designing, stitching, teaching, and writing books on appliqué and quilts, with the majority focusing on appliqué and Baltimore's antebellum Album Quilts. Before becoming so deeply involved with group-made Albums, Elly’s individual work hung at shows across the country and in museums and galleries in Washington, DC. One of her pieces has been accessioned into the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Denmark.
Author of 23 appliqué books including one in German, Elly received the Quilt Industry’s 2003 Silver Star Award for significant influence on the contemporary quilting world. Her Appliqué 12 Easy Ways! won the Quilt Industry Classics Award for Best Book on appliqué. C&T Publishing sponsored two major Baltimore Album Revival Exhibitions to celebrate her books’ impact on the decades-long Baltimore Revival. Quilts Inc. sponsored two Baltimore Album Album Reviews (2003, 2010) inspired in part by Elly's work: In 2003, Houston's Quilt Festival included a solo exhibition of Elly's own art and honored her as that year's Silver Star Award winner. Again in 2010, Houston invited the Elly-led "Baltimore's Daughters" exhibition of 12 quilts catalogued by her book, Beloved Baltimore's Album Quilts.
Inspiring as a speaker and respected as a quilt historian, Elly has lectured for the Smithsonian Institution and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum among others. In 2009, Quilter's Newsletter readers voted her “America’s Best Quilting Teacher.” She has been invited to teach across the United States and on five continents. Her work has been widely published in quilt magazines in the United States, Europe, and Japan, and in publications including Antiques, Folk Art Magazine, Victoria, Threads, Uncoverings, and The Journal of the American Quilt Study Group.
2013 was the 30th anniversary of the international Baltimore Album Revival. Its start is widely attributed to the Baltimore Museum of Art’s 1982 traveling exhibition of Baltimores and the publication of Elly's first book, published in 1983, entitled Spoken Without a Word, A Lexicon of Selected Symbols With 24 Patterns From Classic Baltimore Album Quilts (lovingly known as SWAW). SWAW, 30th Anniversary Edition was published in 2014 with a sequel soon to come.