Quilt Guild’s work on display
The effort and artistry on display every year during Strawberry Days at the “Colors of Colorado” quilt show is commensurate with anything you’re likely to see in a gallery.
Each piece is the product of hours upon hours of enthusiastic effort by one of the roughly two dozen members of the Roaring Fork Quilt Guild.
“There’s a lot of time involved from inception to completion,” observed event co-organizer Lynn Kerr. “It’s a chance to show the public who we are and what we do. We hope people show up to ooh and aah.”
“They really aren’t shown in one place like this otherwise,” added secretary Donna Dayton. ”They’re in people’s houses.”
Dayton, a former math teacher, initially tried out quilting during the revival days of the ’70s. While her great-grandmother may have had the time and patience to spend quilting by hand, however, Dayton’s first try didn’t stick.
“I loved the geometry of it, but I thought I’d never have time to do it,” she said. “It wasn’t until more recently when I tried a machine with free motion quilting, and it was like a lightbulb went on. … It’s almost zen. I start sewing and hours go by.”
She’s still getting used to having such a creative outlet.
“I have to battle to see myself as an artist. I’m stretching myself with colors and designs, but I’m really good at shape,” she said. “I think I do my best work when I have someone in mind.”
Kerr, by contrast, has been a member since two older guilds merged to form the current organization. She brings experience and a passion for threadplay to the table, but still finds something new in each quilt.
“We all learn from each other,” she said. “We’re always looking for new members.”
Everybody has different things that draw them to the art. For Kerr, it’s “the tactile experience of the fabric and the creativity of pulling colors together.”
“It’s kind of like cooking: You have a basic recipe and then adapt it,” she added. “It’s a work of art, but it’s also warm and cozy and practical. You can create a blanket using what’s on hand. All my scraps will go into something else someday.”
Kerr uses a high end longarm sewing machine, but plenty of other members have older, simpler models and some even prefer to quilt by hand. In addition to camaraderie and collaboration, the guild gives members a chance to challenge each other.
The show will be expertly judged and a crowd favorite chosen, and there’s also a special competition to create something based on the theme, “what’s in a phrase.” With just $3 admission, the event is far more about giving back to the community than making money. The organization also donates quilts to organizations like Advocate Safehouse and River Bridge.
The guild, which includes quilters from Aspen to Rifle, meets monthly at the Carbondale Branch Library. They will also be holding a demo day at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library on July 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Colors of Colorado Quilt Show takes place Friday, June 17, from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church across from Strawberry Park.
For more information on the guild, visit facebook.com/RoaringForkQuilters.
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