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Stitches in time: Quilting exhibit features both old, new works of art

Quilts of all shapes, sizes and patterns will be on dispay at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center through March.
Quilts of all shapes, sizes and patterns will be on dispay at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center through March.

During the month of March, the Old Town Emporium and the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center will be hosting the Art of Quilting exhibit.
The display features a total of 13 quilts, showcasing a beautiful mix of historic patterns as well as machine and handmade designs.
The exhibitor this month, Angela Harris of Fellowship Quilters, has been quilting since 1998. Angela originally took a quilting class from a local quilter to fill up some free time. She had no idea how much she would enjoy the class.
“I particularly love creating the quilt tops by choosing and arranging the colors and designs,” Harris said. “I continue quilting education by taking classes yearly that are offered through local quilt shops, quilt guilds and area events similar to QuiltFest that takes place in Jonesborough each July.”
Harris belongs to two local guilds including the Old Town Quilters of Jonesborough and Appalachian Heritage Quilters of Gray. She also teaches classes and has worked with the Herald & Tribune on a series of articles on quilt design history.
In 2009, Harris created a cooperative for local quilters called “Fellowship Quilters.” The business offers a variety of quilting services, including hand quilters, machine quilters and embroiderers.
“Fellowship Quilters will also coordinate quilting services and work with local artists to complete projects, additions, repairs and more for clients,” Harris said.
The Art of Quilting exhibit at the Visitors Center is best described by Harris as a sampling of quilting that is both a physical and visual form of art.
“Five artists who have worked for Fellowship Quilters have pieces in the display. Two of the pieces in the exhibit showcase some of the oldest known quilt designs to date. They are called Cathedral Windows and Yo-Yo Wreath,” Harris said.
The exhibit also includes a completely handmade 1930s Reels and Tulips quilt, which serves as the jewel of the collection.
“We also have Jordan’s Quilt, which is a memory quilt made by Jordan’s grandmother. Those types of quilts have become very popular in recent years,” Harris said. “Memory quilts are a way to preserve memories of our children as they grow up, or memories of a loved one who has passed away.”
A local favorite pattern known as the Double Wedding Ring is also included in the Art of Quilting exhibit.  In this piece, quilter Betty Briscall illustrates how an old handmade design can now be created completely by machine.
“The exhibit also showcases how beautiful and intricate modern quilting designs can be, such as the Summer at the Beach and Modern Amish pieces. Historically quilts were to be used for bedcovers and other functional purposes.
“However, the work involved in their creation as well as the decorative purpose quilts serve has led to their cultural importance in many places and times, increasingly treated as a visual art form,” Harris said.
The Art of Quilting will be on display until March 31 and is free and open to the public for viewing during the Visitors Center business hours of Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Currently you can find a few samples from Fellowship Quilters at One40Four located on Main Street in Jonesborough or on their website at www.fellowshipquilterstn.com.
You can also  reach Angela Harris at 677-5990 or by email at [email protected]
“Spotlight on the Arts” is a column contributed by the Town of Jonesborough.