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Promoting Local Talent

Trimble County, Ky.,
creates map of barn quilt locations

Area’s barn quilt heritage
preserved in new brochure

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BEDFORD, Ky. (April 2011) – When artist Brandy DeAngelino read an article about Donna Sue Groves and her idea of painting a quilt square on her barn to honor her mother, DeAngelino was instantly intrigued. A quilter herself, DeAngelino was curious enough to delve into the idea of painting barn quilts for others.
She became involved with a project through the Trimble County Arts Council and the Trimble County Extension Office that painted exterior barn quilts, said DeAngelino, 61.
She then decided to start painting them on her own and she now has barn quilts displayed all over the county at places like Bray’s Orchard. “You’ll just be driving through the county and notice them,” she said.

DeAngelino quilt

Photos provided

Artist Brandy
DeAngelino has created
and designed many barn
quilts for Trimble
County barns.

Brandy DeAngelino

DeAngelino guesses she’s painted 20 to 30 exterior barn quilts in a variety of sizes, from two feet squares to eight foot squares. “When I first started the project, I used plywood for my quilts,” said DeAngelino, who is originally from San Deigo. She lived in New Mexico for a time to care for her ailing father, then moved to Trimble County when searching for her sister and decided to remain there.
DeAngelino hand paints the quilts and after attending a meeting in Bullet County, switched to using laminated aluminum which is lighter and easier to handle. She can frame the quilts with pressure treated wood if requested.
Her exterior barn quilts are featured alongside other local artists’ work in a new brochure put out by the Trimble County Cooperative Extension office. Ten quilts are included in the brochure, said Jane Proctor, Trimble County Agent for Family and Consumer Services.
The Extension Office wanted to “provide a driving trail in Trimble County,” Proctor said. Other information includes the quilt name, address and GPS coordinates. Brochures are available at the Trimble County Cooperative Extension office located at 43 High Country Lane in Bedford.
Proctor said she hopes this driving trail will become part of the Kentucky Quilt Trail project one day, a state-wide project.
A national Quilt Trail project began in Adams County Ohio with Donna Sue Groves, a field representative for the Ohio Arts Council whom DeAngelino had read about. After painting a quilt square on her barn in memory of her mother, a lifelong quilter, Groves shared her idea with friends and decided to painted more barn quilts and devise a driving tour to attract tourists to the rural community where they lived.
This project soon took root in Kentucky and became known as the Kentucky Quilt Trail project. The first Kentucky barn quilt was hung in Carter County, and each community since then has introduced its own twist on the project. “There are 62 counties with quilt trail websites or email contact information,” said Chris Cathers, Program Branch Manager, Kentucky Arts Council.
Scott County, Ky., seems to have the most barn quilts, according to Cathers. “Begun by the Buffalo Gals Homemakers of Stamping Ground, the Buffalo Gals Barn Quilt Trail has grown to encompass more than 100 barn quilts, each one a unique creation,” he said. The greatest concentration of these quilts can be found by taking Hwy. 460 west from Georgetown and turning right onto Hwy. 227 toward Stamping Ground.
“I believe most people hang barn quilts to honor family and specific members of a family,” Cathers said. “It’s a way to establish a lasting legacy that reflects heritage, tradition and pride.”
Many of the barn quilts have personal stories connected to the families that choose specific patterns for use on the barns, Cathers said. DeAngelino said she can replicate any pattern for a client. She can take “old quilt block patterns and put a new twist on them,” she said.
When designing barn quilts, “I actually like to do a variety of patterns.” This way each one is new and fresh, not repetitive. Depending upon the size of the barn quilt, prices range from $85 to $400.
Each one is painted in sections, and each section has to dry before moving on to a new part of the design. Because of this, it may take DeAngelino a week to finish a quilt.
She is also a member of a local quilting group, the Trimble Thimbles. Because of this, many of her barn quilts with prints look like they are made of actual material instead of painted.
When she moved to Trimble County, DeAngelino said miniature quilts were popular. She tried to talk her mother, a seamstress, into making one but her mother’s response was, “You do it.” So she taught herself how to quilt, matting and framing the miniatures like a picture.
For artists like DeAngelino, this project “provides visual artists an opportunity to bring quilt art to canvas,” said Cathers. “It also extends to photographers in the images they capture. Literary artists can write the stories connected to the patterns.”
To connect with your county’s quit trail project, Cathers suggests that property owners should contact their local barn quilt committee and inquire about the terms for involvement in the project, as each county barn quilt trail may have different requirements.

• For more information on Brandy DeAngelino’s artwork, email her at BrandyDe@aol.com or call (502) 298-9079. More information can be found on the Kentucky Quilt Trail on the Kentucky Arts Council website at http://ArtsCouncil.ky.gov/QTrails/History.htm.

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