First Posted: 8/11/2014
For those who love quilts and company, the Dorcas Society of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and the Back Mountain Quilters will host a quilt show and tea on Saturday, Aug. 23, providing area residents an opportunity to enjoy hundreds of quilts on display in the church sanctuary, as well as other items of artwork reflecting the art of quilting.
More than a dozen members of the church meet regularly, turning pieces of colorful material into treasures.
Veteran quilter Lois Hardisky said many quilters share memories of learning to quilt from aunts and mothers at their family homes, providing a bit of historical history and flavor the quilting effort.
She also said she was very glad to have had two men join the quilting club during this past year, saying they did a good job and had more skill then they had originally thought.
Each quilt not only adds beauty, but tells a story and builds a unique history, often becoming a cherished reminder of family and community.
A veteran quilter, Hardisky anticipates the entire sanctuary will be filled with a variety of quilts, some going back to the 1800s.
The church’s first quilt show event took place in 2010, and over 200 quilts were on display to the delight of area residents, who were impressed with the color, design and quality of the work.
Many attendees of that first show equally enjoyed quietly sipping tea and enjoying refreshments on a Saturday afternoon, surrounded by the beautiful efforts of those who labored for many hours making their stiches perfect as they created intricate designs.
Hardisky fondly remembers a couple who attended the first show and arrived by motorcycle.
“He had planned attendance at the event as a special surprise for his wife,” she said, “and when she got here, she was elated.”
Cynthia Mahalick, of Dallas, said the art of quilting is much more than crafting completed bits of beauty, but also builds a family history, as they are passed on throughout the generation.
Mahalick’s favorite quilt is one she inherited from her great-grandmother, with several areas of stitching completed by her aunts and other family members.
“Each quilt and sometimes each stitch has a story to tell,” said Mahalick.
In addition to her great-grandmother’s quilt, she also counts a quilt she completed as a high school student as her favorite.
Barbara Shafer, also of Dallas, has been quilting since the 1980s and highlighted the great deal of labor and skill that goes into each quilt.
“Often a quilt will sell for over $1,000,” said Shafer, “but its real value is in the love and care put into making it.”
Grace Reishus, a Dallas resident, said, in addition to the quilting process itself, members of the quilting group enjoy the fellowship and friendship it provides.
Local artist Linda Keck will display watercolor renderings of quilts crafted by area residents.
Among Keck’s offerings at the quilt show will be a painting of a quilt crafted by her mother and given to Keck and her husband, Frank Mariano, as a wedding gift.
The artwork displays not only the quilt in hues of yellow, blue, and green, but also a depiction of her mother’s hands as she carefully stitched the heirloom.
Other quilts incorporate elaborate embroidery that add depth and color to an already delightful quilt.
The possibilities are endless as the hands and minds that create them.
Although many think quilting is a dying art, Hardisky disagrees.
“People, young and old, really enjoy the process of quilting,” she said, “it provides the opportunity to be creative, to learn an intricate skill and to spend time with friends.”
She said usually six to eight ladies sit around the quilt on any given night, quietly stitching.
The group also enthusiastically welcomes those who want to learn quilting.
“It’s really a skill,” she said. “Some catch on right away, and others find out it’s not for them.”