Quilts hang as art in Brigham City

Sunday , July 27, 2014 - 8:08 AM

Tim Gurrister

BRIGHAM CITY -- These are not your grandmother’s quilts.

Some 30 quilts from 11 states and three countries currently hang on display in the Brigham City Museum of Art and History.

The 2014 International Quilt Invitational Exhibition, put together by museum staff, will be showing through Aug. 23 in the museum at 24 N. 300 West. Admission is free.

No bedspreads here, in fact you’re not allowed to touch them.

They have something in common with the pioneer linens of necessity in that all involve sewing, but the similarity ends there.

“They definitely are works of art,” said Kaia Landon, museum director.

The designs are sometimes kaleidoscopic, and include sunsets, landscapes and portraits, and can be historical in commentary. The fine detail on some include Anne Boleyn hovering over the Tower of London, and the abbey that inspired Bram Stoker to write “Dracula.”

The styles vary, can include fabric paint, or works assembled “applique” (pronounced appli-kay) where fabric is attached in layers to form the designs in an overlay, Landon said, as well as “piecing,” the original style of quilting with pieces attached side by side.

The show is curated by staffer Mary Alice Hobbs, Landon said, “inviting participation from quilters whose work we’d like to show.”

The centerpiece for the exhibit is the near 7-foot square “Kells: Magnum Opus” by Britain’s Zena Thorpe. The quilt is inspired by the Book of Kells, a manuscript produced by 9th century Celtic monks writing about the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It’s on loan from the International Quilt Association World of Beauty competition.

The Brigham exhibition includes an Aug. 9 workshop at the museum for devotees conducted by Birgit Schuller of Reigelsberg, Germany, whose award-winning quilt “Masquerade” is one of three by the artist hanging as part of the quilt show.

The workshop entitled “Holes as a Design Element” is adapted from Schuller’s six-hour machine sewing class. The cost for the three-hour seminar is $15 for museum members and $25 for non-members. Pre-registration is required as places are limited.

“The quilts (now) hanging in the museum are a far cry from the oldest example of quilting in existence -- a quilt carpet found in a Mongolian cave centuries ago,” said curator Landon.

"I have been curating the quilt exhibits for about 14 years," said Hobbs. "When I took over, we were having only quilters from Utah." That's changed the last two years, with permission to recruit from out-of-state, she said, resulting in the current exhibit featuring 11 states and three countries.

"Last year our featured art quilter was from Japan," Hobbs said.

"'As a part-time employee, I work off and on as time permits for a year to prepare for the next quilt exhibit. I check winners of prestigious quilting competitions worldwide and then select people to invite to participate.

"Very seldom does someone say 'No.' I like to invite quilters for the following year while our current exhibit is on display, thus people can see the roster of quilters we have on our web page. Also, participants are a good source for finding other outstanding quilters."

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