Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Highlights of the October Meeting

At the October meeting, the members were treated to a presentation by Suzi Parron, and oh my, what an entertaining speaker she is! Suzi"discovered" and wrote the book on Barn Quilts. Her presentation included a slide show, but she requested no photography during the slide show because of copyright issues. 

Sue Hauser introduced her to the guild.

Her talk was humorous, heart-warming and very enjoyable. Suzi explained that she "discovered" barn quilts while on a road trip from her home in Atlanta, Georgia, to Yellowstone National Park. While driving through Ohio, she spied her first barn quilts. She stopped and asked the barn owner about them and was told that they'd been painted to honor the work of women on farms. It was explained to her that when folks see barns, they visualize a farmer who generally happens to be a man. The farmers in this corner of Ohio wanted to recognize the substantial efforts of the women on farms. 

She went on to say that she was so intrigued with the barn quilts that she decided to read about it when she got home from her trip. When she could find no books on the topic, her own book, Barn Quilts, was born.

As it turns out, the first barn quilt was an Ohio Star, painted on a barn in 2001. You can read the story and see some pictures right here. Suzi's own website Barn Quilt Info goes into more history of the barn quilt movement. Quoting Suzi's website:

"I'm often told that barn quilts must be part of the wonderful Amish quilting heritage or that they came to America from some European tradition. Although both of those theories are interesting and have been published from time to time, they just are not based in fact.
How can I be so certain? The answer is a rather simple one. No one has been able to document the location of a painted quilt square that existed prior to the Ohio Star that was painted in Adams County, Ohio in 2001. Donna Sue Groves' idea continues to inspire folks across the country to join what has become the largest grassroots public arts movement in our history."

Clicking on the link above will take you to Suzi's website, and you can see an interactive map that shows barn quilt trails all over the continental United States, including the one the Westside Guild has started. You can see our barn quilt progress right here. Suzi informed us that some 8,000 barn quilts now exist in the continental United States, including all 48 of the lower states, except Nevada. Nevada quilters: I think you have your work cut out for you.

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