Quilt show: An artistic expression

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By Brad Bowman



Donna Duncan travels around from schools to community events showing off quilts more like works of art than the traditional quilts your grandmother made.

In the A New Box of Crayons Trunk Show, Duncan presents and displays 31 quilts inspired by the new box of crayons theme.

The outgoing 2011-2012 president of the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society, Claire Hundley issued the theme challenge to participating quilters. The submissions had to be inspired by the excitement of a new box of crayons and the joy of possibilities contained in each box. The quilt entries had to contain three shapes and the eight crayon colors: green, blue, yellow, orange, red, purple, brown and black.

The quilts cover an artistic spectrum from an elementary student’s art to the abstract of pattern and color play.

Duncan will display the quilts at two more local events in Henry County: The New Castle United Methodist Church, 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13 and noon, Feb. 19, at Campbellsburg Baptist Church.

Terry Heffley, a member of the Women’s Group, has seen different quilts over the years and invites every one to see them in New Castle. According to Heffley, the quilts’ artistic expressions kept the attention of her former students.

“I’m a retired teacher and you wouldn’t think children would be interested,” Heffley said. “There is a story with each one of the quilts and they are not typical — they are more like wall hangings.”

Duncan would incorporate the mathematical knowledge of quilt making and their themed patterns to the core content students were learning at the time, Heffley said.

Duncan shows the quilts across the state. She’s been involved with the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society since 1986, served as a past president, a board member for 19 years and editor of the newsletter.

The quilts show off not just the craftsmanship of a quilter, some are hand sewn and some machined, but also the imaginations and artistic expression of their creators.

“I thought quilting was a part of my heritage,” Duncan said. “Quilts have evolved over the last 30 years into more of a painterly approach in their making. Thread painting is used to apply color instead of using fabric. The techniques are different and the quilts are just as much a form of art as sculpting and painting.”

Duncan started showing the quilts in 1993. The events have grown from schools to community and adult groups across the state.

“I teach students museum etiquette: wearing white gloves so as to not soil the fabric with the oils from my hands, who the artist is and why they made the quilt, and also, how it made them feel or inspired them. It’s an opportunity to show that art is more than what we traditionally think of.”

Quilters in the show hail from Union, Lawrenceburg, Eminence, Crestwood and Shelbyville to outside the state from Indiana and Ohio.

For more information call: (502) 845-7150 or (502) 706- 0004.