Monday, May 4, 2009

Island Quilters Feed the Soul

Becky and I went down to Camp Burton last Saturday to see the quilt show. It happens every two years, and it is always worth the wait. The intricate patterns and passionate colors lift you up and make you feel glad to be alive in a world where quilts happen.
Patchwork quilts are one of the original recycling projects – using bits of worn out and used up items, as well as things like patterned flour sacks, to make new and beautiful covers for beds in a time before central heating and electric blankets, or electric anything. Many quilts were stitched by candlelight during winter evenings, I imagine.
Quilts now are not so much recycled material as new cloth that has been carefully chosen and coordinated to make stunning original works of art.
This show included quilts that the guild had done as a group – the “mystery quilts” and the “block of the month” quilts were the ones I noticed.
The mystery quilt is a project whose instructions are given out monthly over a year, and the quilters have to follow the instructions and use their imaginations and fabrics to put the whole thing together. The results are several quilts with the same pieces cut out, recognizable as all the same, but radically different from one another.
The block of the month quilts are made by quilters who receive instructions for one square a month for a year. They make the squares and at the end of the year they put them together and finish them in their own original borders. These quilts are not so recognizable as being part of the same project, because they vary so widely in their colors, composition, and borders.
Then there are theme quilts and the one-of-a-kind quilts: florals, orientals, children's; appliqué quilts; embroidered quilts. I loved some of the whimsical quilts – one quilt was made of fabric with sock monkeys, and another featured frogs flying through the air.
You have to look close to see the actual quilting, the patterned stitching which holds the quilt together. Patterns are varied and beautiful, done by machine or by hand. One of my favorites was a gingko leaf pattern.
Catholine Tribble was there with the Community Quilt which will be auctioned off at this year's Strawberry Festival. Catholine is featured in a square on this year's quilt.
I have a warm spot in my heart for Catholine. Last year she made an appliquéd and embroidered hand-quilted work of art, about the size of a pot holder, and on one side is a representation of Women, Women & Song in 1988, Then, and on the other side Women, Women & Song in 2008, Now, based on publicity photos of the trio. It was in a show at the Blue Heron Art Gallery last year.
The quilt show was as always breathtaking in its beauty. I am always blown away by the skill and artistry of these quilters, their eye for pattern and color, their patience and craft. I'll never be a quilter myself, but boy do I enjoy the works of the people who are. Hats off, ladies. “Beautiful” barely begins to say it. Only two years to go until the next show.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

"Salmon gill, trail of eel,
flowers and dear,
Bringing the lives of our ancestors near
Log Cabin, Lone Star, basket design,
Weaving and quilting our stories entwine."
My grandmother's hands worked with bright colored fabrics
Taken from dresses I wore long ago
With strong cotton thread and the finest of needles
Weaving my mem'ries in patterns she'd sew..."
Linda Allen 'Weaving and Quilting'