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Quilt Crazy

Carina Hume - June 15th, 2009
Quilt Qraze
Tradition clashes with contemporary at Quilts by the Bay show

By Carina Hume 6/15/09

Traditional quilting, born out of necessity, has been around for centuries. But contemporary art quilts – made strictly for art’s sake – are quickly becoming a new and exciting way to express oneself.
“Quilts by the Bay,” showcases both styles at the Petoskey Knights of Columbus Hall, on Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20.
“It’s a fundraising show that we have every two years,” explains Ann Barfknecht, co-chair of the Little Traverse Bay Quilt Guild, show sponsor. “It’s a judged show, so all of the members register their quilts, then, the day before (the event), a national quilter who has national certification as a judge, reviews all the quilts and she gives prizes for all different kinds of categories.”
More than 100 traditional and contemporary art quilts – many for sale – will be featured and a certified appraiser will be on-site.
“We also have a boutique that has all kinds of quilt-related, neat textile things for sale at reasonable prices,” continues Barfknecht. “It’s an all encompassing show for quilters and non-quilters.”

SUPPORT SOME GOOD CAUSES
Funds raised from the show’s $5 admission fee are used partially for local community projects.
“The whole group contributes to the community, monetarily – Women’s Resource Center, children’s books for the library, placemats for Meals on Wheels, quilts for the extended stay pediatric section at the hospital. We’ve made 200-300 over the last few years. It’s really rewarding to make them for the kids,” explains Barfknecht.
Continuing quilting education for the 100-plus members of the guild – most from Emmet, Charlevoix and surrounding counties – is also a priority.
“We’ll probably have three to five national teachers here per year to take classes from,” says Barfknecht. “A lot of our local people are quilters who have either been published in magazines or have talent.”

ART QUILTS – A GROWING TREND
Art quilts are typically delicate wall-hangings, meant to be appreciated like a painting. Traditional quilts are usually bed-size and are more limited because they need regular washing. Patchworking and appliqué – where smaller pieces are stitched onto a background – are popular traditional techniques.
“Traditional quilts are usually done from patterns and art quilts are one-of a-kind and they are inspired from the quilter’s brain,” says Mary Lee Huber, a member of the quilting group known as The Magnificent Seven, who have collaborated to make a quilt of the same name.
“Art quilts involve trying to say something to evoke a feeling,” adds member Marian Henthorne.
Modern additions like embellishments, paint, yarn and photo transfers can add dimension to the finished project. Hand-dyeing your own fabric is another way to make the art piece uniquely your own.

QUILTING OUTSIDE THE BOX
The Magnificent Seven – a sub-group of Little Traverse Bay Quilt Guild members, including Lana Champion, Carolyn Hubbard, Huber, Henthorne, Miriam Jacobson, Judy O’Brien and Barfknecht – formed because of their desire to try something new.
“We had this very interested group of seven and we wanted to try things outside the box,” says Barfknecht, “We all bring some little aspect to this group.”
Artistic talent, Lana Champion, was instrumental in getting the art quilt group going.
“We’ve created this art quilt that we’re going to enter in the show about women and their importance and goals in the world. We started about two years ago.”
Each member created a portion of the center of the quilt, not knowing entirely what the picture actually was.
“Lana took a picture and blew it up to the size of the center of the quilt and she cut it up and mailed the pieces to us,” explains Henthorne. “Some of us had no idea it was a face – mine was lips, so I knew it was a face.”
Color selection and quilting processes helped create a unique art piece when combined.
“It all went together at the end, which was miraculous,” says Jacobson, with a laugh. “It’s sort of an expression of what we’ve done as a group.”
Each member also created their own “faces,” paying attention to shadow, color and dimension, using new techniques they had all learned.
“We portrayed ourselves as whatever we see ourselves as,” adds Jacobson. “I love flowers, so my piece has lots of flowers.”
View Quilts by the Bay, Friday, June 19 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Petoskey’s Knights of Columbus Hall located at 1106 Charlevoix Ave. (US-31). Admission is $5. Anyone interested in joining the Little Traverse Bay Quilt Guild can call Ann Barfknecht at 231-347-2281 for more information.


 
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