Quilt Guild drapes walls in annual exhibit

Feb 4, 2016

BATAVIA — If you’re looking for a way to stay warm this winter, then head down to the Richmond Memorial Library, where all month long you’ll be able to view the Museum Quilt Guild’s annual exhibit. This year’s theme, “Architecture,” was chosen “to appeal to both art quilters and traditionalists,” according to Guild member Kathi Everett. “A lot of quilt blocks are named after architecture like Log Cabin and Barn Raising, so it’s a timeless theme.” And one that lends itself well to a modern twist judging from the 26 innovative — and sometimes quirky — quilts that line the walls of the gallery.

The Guild has been launching an annual quilt show for more than 30 years. More than 100 quilters from Buffalo to Rochester and beyond call themselves members of the local guild. Monthly meetings typically draw “between 40 and 60” attendees, according to Everett. “It’s the people who keep you coming back,” she says.

Traditional quilts were made for utilitarian purposes like staying warm, but even those workhorses of the prairie provided a chance for adept needleworkers to showcase their skills.

“The majority of members in today’s guild are machine quilters, or have their pieced work machine-quilted at shops that perform that service,” said Everett.

But that doesn’t take away from its artistry.”Machine quilting is huge,” says Everett, “but there are still a lot of traditionalists out there. The biggest change is that they are now accepting machine quilters into the fold. In fact, now it’s revered.”

Art Quilts are gaining in popularity and have proven to be a medium that entices younger quilters — and some men — to the table. The “Architecture” exhibit features many art quilts depicting buildings ranging from simple farm structures to skyscrapers — some based on buildings, bridges, and architectural elements of national reknown.

“What attracts many people to art quilting is that it’s very improvisational,” Everett said. Quilts can be painted on, manipulated digitally, (thank you, photoshop) pieced with non-traditional fabrics like silk ties and organza, or in the case of Everett, “tea bags!”

Whether you define yourself as a traditionalist or a modern art quilter, Everett says that it’s important to keep the gentle art of quilting alive.

“It links us to our past, plus it’s cool now,” she said. “It goes with that whole homesteading/sustainable living thing that we’re seeing a resurgence of.”

Everett took her first quilting class in the mid-1980s; she took an online class a few years later and was hooked.

“Now I’m the person with an entire room dedicated to fabric and scraps,” she said.

Anyone interested in learning to quilt can contact The Museum Quilt Guild by calling The Holland Land Office at (585) 343-4727. They offer workshops and classes, often featuring nationally-known quilters. Workshops are open to guild members and any additional seats are made available to the public.

“Architecture” is on exhibit through Feb. 29 in the Gallery Room at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St. Ballots may be cast for a viewers choice commendation; guild members will vote on particular quilting techniques.

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by Patricia Hawley, The Daily News (2/4/2016)
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