Quilts from across the south on display at Shelby County Arts Council

Published 6:16 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

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By RACHEL RAIFORD | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA A variety of quilts representing multiple states and moments in history currently line the walls of the EBSO Fine Arts Gallery at the Shelby County Arts Council for residents’ viewing pleasure.

The quilt gallery by the Alabama chapter of Quilts for Kids will remain on display for perusal until Saturday, June 29.

While the chapter has displayed their work in the gallery in previous years, this edition is special to them. From Sea to Shining Sea: Quilts from the Southland displays quilts that contain imagery from almost every southern state and patterns that are unique to those states and culture. 

While the exhibit is unique, exhibit curator Agnes Pool explained the importance of the faces behind each quilt. 

“Our chapter of Quilts for Kids started doing this almost 10 years ago,” Pool said. We have distributed more than 2,500 quilts to children’s hospitals, King’s Home and Owens House.”

The group makes quilts in a range of sizes, from baby blankets to teen quilts. They make 10 to 12 quilts every three months to drop off at Kings Home and Owens House, so every child that enters has their own quilt, “even if they come in with only the clothes on their backs.” 

The chapter meets once a month in the conference room of the local library where they plan and create their quilts. This is where they began choosing quilts for the gallery exhibit. 

“The quilts on display were made mostly by Quilts for Kids, the Shelby Divas group and from local quilters,” Pool said. 

The unique theme of the current exhibit is in conjunction with Liberty Day. 

“We usually use stars and stripes, but this year we went with our subtitle, Quilts from the Southland,” Pool said. “As you look around, you’ll see things that depict things from the southland.” 

Each quilt is handcrafted by a quilter in the community, some being Pool’s own creations. 

Around the room there are pattern books under some of the quilts, open to that pattern’s page. One notable piece would be the Crazy Quilt that Pool made. 

The Crazy Quilt is made up of fabric from her mother’s clothing that was in her closet when she passed. 

When it comes to the pieces that are on display, one that Pool highlighted was the replica of the Baltimore Album. While the name and origin isn’t from a southern state, the Baltimore Album was one of the earliest quilts in America. 

The replica was made by Quilts for Kids, special for the exhibit. The quilt contains 25 handcrafted squares that are put together by the group. 

“They were all made by using different techniques,” Pool said. “Some are machine applique and some are hand applique.”

Pool explained that they planned out who would do each square. Once they were completed they met in the conference room to lay them out and stitch them together. 

Each quilt on display in the exhibit is unique to a state or a moment in history. The exhibit will remain open until June 29. For those interested in viewing, more information can be found at Shelbycountyartscouncil.com.