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Print Exclusive: Celebrate National Quilt Month with exhibits

Mar. 16, 2013 @ 10:35 PM

You know it's still cold out, there's white smoke coming out of the Vatican chimney.

Oh, that's for something else.

Right, well, here in the Tri-State, baby, it's still a bit cold outside, and there's still three more days until the start of spring.

So now as National Quilt Month wanes we pause to give thanks to the beautiful and utilitarian Appalachian quilt.

Here are just a few great ways to give up the love to the comfy and artfully-made business casual coolness of the quilt.

Shhhhh, I'm gawking at Quilts

There's a Dragon's Tail at the library and a Jungle Song, a Scrappy Churn Dash, a Double Wedding Ring, Radio Waves and even a Nine Patch Nirvana.

Those are just a few of the 37 quilts now on display at the Cabell County Public Library, 455 9th St., from the Creative Quilters. That local group of quilters meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of the month at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church.

Several of the hanging quilts are for sale by owner or are being raffled off. Those include a Marshall University Quilt and a State of West Virginia 150th birthday quilt both being raffled off for the Children's Home Society of WV, Hovah Hall Underwood Children's Home.

You can get tickets by contacting the quilters by email at CreativeQuilters1982@gmail.com or go on the Creative Quilters Facebook site.

Side by side signing

Not too many worldwide art trends start right here in our backyard, but at least one did.

Adams County, Ohio, resident Donna Sue Groves paid homage to her Roane County, W.Va., mountain mama, Nina Maxine Groves' quilting legacy by painting one of her complex quilt blocks onto the side of a barn back in 2001.

Groves has helped spread that movement to more than 3,000 quilt barns in 29 states and Canada.

That amazing movement was chronicled in the Swallow Press book, "Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement," by Suzi Parron with Donna Sue Groves.

While both ladies have done many signings over the past year of the book (now in its third printing) they will sit side by side from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the Historic Cox Building in Maysville, Ky.

That signing is part of The Maysville Quilt Gathering that takes place March 23-24.

Go online at www.maysvilleheritagequilttrail.com/ for more info about the Quilt Gathering in Maysville, the historic Kentucky town located on the Ohio River between Portsmouth and Cincinnati.

The Real McCoy quilts at Highlands

The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center, 1620 Winchester Ave., Ashland is celebrating National Quilt Month in style with a show called "Century of Quilts" featuring about 30 quilts from the Greenup County Hospice Quilters, who've stitched up and donated some 1,000 quilts since 2005.

Two local quilters featured in this exhibit are the late Fannie Hatfield, who started the Greenup County Hospice Quilters which grew into four groups with 52 quilters in KHQS District 10 (FIVCO), and Karen Young, Boyd County quilter who has traditional patchwork quilts and designs her own pieces in modern patchwork. Young has exhibited her quilts at many places around the country.

To give an idea of the depth of history of quilting in America, Highlands will have a rare showing of "Elizabeth Mitchell's 1836 Graveyard Quilt Top," which was donated to the museum in the 1980s. The fragile quilt top is so famous it received its own quilt block on the Ashland flood wall back in 2008.

Since paper is so fragile, women would stitch family records onto quilts to pass down information, as was done by Mitchell on this treasured quilt of Kentucky.

"Century of Quilts" exhibit will also have more quilts and fabric arts from the museum collection as well including a Hatfield and McCoy woven coverlet from the museum collection. That show was organized by Heather Akers, Carolyn Warnock and Nancy Osborne. Woven coverlets were used as bedspreads, said Osborne, a local quilter.

Go online at www.highlandsmuseum.com for more info about the Highlands and the quilt exhibit.

Covering up the Clay

When you think of the Clay Center, it's easy to dwell on its 60-foot-domed ElectricSky Theatre, its endless stream of national acts, and its hands-on science exhibits.

But upstairs in the spacious contemporary art gallery, the Clay has got room in the inn through March 30 for two quilt exhibits.

"American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940," stitches together the history of quilts with some seven decades of stories folded into 25 historic quilts that illustrate the rapid societal and technological shifts in American life between the Civil War and World War II.

A touch of home comes from the WV Contemporary Quilt Invitational that features a selection of award winning quilts from some of West Virginia's finest quilters such as Shurlee Griffen, Fran Kordek and Sally Rowe.

Call 304-561-3570 and go online at www.theclaycenter.org for more info.

Quilt party in Parkersburg

The Blennerhasset Museum, located 137 Juliana St. Parkersburg, is hosting the 9th annual Mid-Ohio Valley Heritage Quilt Show that opened this weekend and that runs through March 24.

Area quilters are displaying quilts and wall hangings at the Blennerhassett Museum. This year they are also recognizing and honoring 150 years of West Virginia statehood. Prizes will be awarded for 'Best of Show" and "People's Choice."

While you are there, might as well take a relieving break and check out the exhibit, "Behind Closed Doors -- American Bathrooms Through the Ages" that features artifacts dating back to the 18th century. This unique exhibit will be on display until Dec. 31, 2013.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. FYI, the sternwheeler rides to Blennerhassett Island don't start back until May 1.

Call 304-420-4800 or go online at www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com/museum.html .

Retreat for some quilting

Just a marble shot from Parkersburg, is Cairo, W.Va., home to the North Bend State Park, a magnet for bicyclists since the park is along one of the state's most popular rail trails, the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail that was designed for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.

You can get in some early pedaling and stitching as North Bend is hosting a Quilters Spring Retreat with specials and activities running Sunday, March 17 through Friday, March 22.

Find out more about the full plate of activities, at 304-643-2931 or go online at www.northbendsp.com .

The mother of all quilt shows

OK, this isn't happening in March, but Quilt National '13 is a must-see, and might as well pop this on the calendar now for a road-trip to Athens, Ohio this summer.

The world famous Dairy Barn Arts Center, will host "Quilt National '13," the 18th international juried competition for new innovative quilts, on display May 24 to Sept. 2.

Jurors are internationally recognized artist quiltmakers Judith Content (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Linda Colsh (Belgium); and Penny McMorris (Bowling Green, Ohio), quilt scholar, author and co-founder of The Electric Quilt Company, which produces software for quilters.

Go online at www.dairybarn.org for more info.

Calling all West Virginia quilters

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is seeking entries for the 2013 West Virginia Quilts and Wall Hangings Juried Exhibition which will open May 25 in the Great Hall at the Culture Center.

To learn more about the annual exhibit or to register a piece, go online at www.wvculture.org or contact Betty Gay at Betty.G.Gay@wv.gov or 304-558-0220, extension 128.

Follow H-D reporter Dave Lavender on Facebook or Twitter @DaveLavenderHD