grace more than
just large buildings
quilts are being made
by several area crafts people
(March 2012) Drive past a barn in the Midwest and
there is a chance of seeing a large, square pattern on one side. Have
you seen this but not sure what its called?
The word is barn quilt. They are aptly named, since many of these wooden
panels resemble similar patterns of a cloth quilt.
However, there is more to these barn quilts than meets the eye. The
quilts have gone from patterns hung on the side of a barn
to intricate designs in various colors, patterns and sizes. But just
as important as the barn quilts are the people who make them.
by Nichole Osinski
Price poses outside his store
with various barn quilts he and
his wife, Vicki, have collaborated
in making for several years.
Todays modern barn quilts have been traced back
to regions in the Midwest. Through the use of patterns, decorating barns
has been used for many years, but the placement and designs have changed.
One example of the versatile work of these quilts can be found in Flee
to the Market, a consignment shop in Hanover, Ind. The business, run
by Bob and Vicki Price, sells barn quilts from 2x2 feet to the larger
Bob, who does the primary work on the quilts, first became interested
in making these when he and his wife were visiting their daughter in
Cleveland, Ohio. After seeing several of the large patterns displayed
on barns along the roads, both became interested. They also asked the
same question: Where can you buy these?
Already interested in art and outdoor craftsmanship the couple began
making their own barn quilts. Bob took care of cutting the wood, painting
and the mounting process. Vicki, who has an art background, helped with
colors and patterns.
Weve been married 39 years, said Vicki. I didnt
know he could do that!
The new-found talent began to grow with each new quilt. He began incorporating
patterns from old cloth quilts and eventually coming up with his own
designs. The Prices realized that many people who didnt have room
for the larger quilts were still interested what they had to offer.
Therefore, smaller pieces were made so that buyers could place them
on mailboxes, hang them on walls or even showcase them on the front
of their house.
The Prices make sure there are no replicas in their quilts. They hope
that each customer can have their own unique piece to showcase. They
have now been doing this for about nine months and Bob makes about four
quilts each week.
Its kind of like coloring in a coloring book, said
Amber Martin, another local who makes barn quilts. Its a
peaceful, long process.
Martin became interested in barn quilts when her mother walked into
Sugar Creek Collectibles on Main Street in Madison, Ind. They were looking
for someone to make the quilts, and when Martins mother told her
about it, she decided to give it a try.
by Nichole Osinski
the Midwest. The
trails take people
from one barn to
another, each one
with their own
unique barn quilt.
With an art degree from the University of Evansville,
Martin knew she could incorporate her own style into this new project.
She has been selling her quilts in Madison since 2010 and will be exhibiting
her work in a gallery in Palestine, Ill., during the month of March.
Many of her designs come from historical patterns she finds as well
as her own ideas.
Glen Watson of Westport, Ky., is someone who knows the historical significance
of barn quilts in the Midwest, especially as rural buildings became
Were getting further and further away from the farm,
And with the decline of farms, many barns bearing quilts on the outside
are left in disrepair. Watson is trying to keep these works of art in
the public eye by making his own quilts.
Relatives on both sides of his family made cloth quilts, and Watson
pulls from these memories and patterns to construct his own barn quilts.
He has made large 12x12-foot quilts as well as small quilts. He recently
received a book for Christmas with 5,500 quilt patterns just
another example of the possibilities for designing the quilts and keeping
them a part of the Midwest culture.
One barn quilt maker from Bedford, Ky., has been providing for quilt
aficionados for five years. Brandy DeAngelino prefers to make smaller
barn quilts and enjoys the challenge of coming up with new patterns
and color schemes.
She is also a member of the Trimble County Arts Council and Cooperative
Extension Service, which had previously done a project on the Underground
Railroad. They incorporated barn quilts and how many have used ideas
from quilts that were used for the Underground Railroad. There are even
claims that quilts were hung from barns to guide slaves to safety.
Today, however, the barn quilts are guiding a new group of people. With
origins in Ohio, barn quilt trails have started growing
in popularity throughout the Midwest. The trails take people
from one barn to another, each one with their own unique barn quilt
But whether people are following a trail of quilts or making
them themselves, its evident this trend is spreading. For some,
it is a hobby; for others, its a way of living and for one group
its making history.
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