QuiltFest aims to connect people to their heritage

Women of the Birmingham Quilters Guild began diligently working earlier this week to transform Oak Mountain Middle School into a quilt museum.

The guild plans to host QuiltFest 2009 there June 20-21.

“It would be a nice thing for a family,” Lovelady said. “Last year, I overheard several men talking about how their grandmothers loved quilting. It brought back a lot of fond memories.”

Lovelady said 188 new quilters and master quilters fashioned the more than 400 quilts on display this weekend.

The guild began hosting shows in 1978 with at least the last four shows being held at OMMS. The shows run every two years.

“We want to make sure we continue the love of quilting and getting new people enthused,” Lovelady said. “We used to say it was a lost art, but no more. It’s come back in vogue.”

Lovelady said the show drew at least 1,400 people in 2007. The group hopes to at least match that number this year, if not top it.

Lovelady said a new exhibit potentially could draw those extra faces. The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative plans to bring 52 small quilts, all created in honor of Alzheimer’s patients.

“It’s the most touching exhibit I think you will ever see,” Lovelady said. “One is a beautifully quilted picture of an elderly lady. Each piece of the quilt is identical to the first, but they get dimmer and dimmer until the last one is blank.”

Alacare Home Health and Hospice and Hancock Fabrics helped fund the exhibit.

Organizers also believe visitors would enjoy the variety of vendors available. Lovelady said one such exhibit includes baskets created in Africa. Women hand–wove baskets from elephant grass. Proceeds from the baskets then fund schools in their villages.

Other vendors include a knife shop and scissor shop.

Demonstrations meanwhile include beading, paper piecing (the method of sewing material directly to a paper pattern) and other things like bindings and borders.

Lovelady said quilting connects people with their heritage. She said it allows you to preserve that history and is something anyone can pick up at any time in his or her life.

The event will also include a silent auction of member Joan Knight’s “Heirloom Beauty” guilt.

Admission is $5. The show starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit Bhamquilters.com.