Piecing it all togetherQuilts are featured artworks in local gallery
WORTHINGTON — Quilts are fashioned from fabric and thread, but there is also a human, creative component to their design and construction. The unique artistry of the region’s quilters will be on display beginning this weekend for the third biennial quilt show at the Nobles County Art Center in Worthington.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Quilts are fashioned from fabric and thread, but there is also a human, creative component to their design and construction.
The unique artistry of the region’s quilters will be on display beginning this weekend for the third biennial quilt show at the Nobles County Art Center in Worthington.
“It’s just an opportunity for quilters, to see what they’re doing,” explained gallery co-director Martin Bunge about the every-other-year showing. “The one criteria is that they have to be original quilts — you need to do something that is uniquely you.”
On Tuesday afternoon, quilters Ruth Koehler and Claris Nord made the trip from Slayton to deliver a selection of quilts for the art center display. Among their contributions is one large quilt — a group project made by their Piecemakers quilting group in Slayton — and three smaller wall hangings stitched by Koehler.
Piecemakers is one of two quilting groups to which the two women belong; Koehler also participates in a third.
“We have a Monday morning one, and we do hand quilting,” explained Koehler about the second group of savvy sewers. “It started out as a donation thing, making a quilt to donate to something, and we had such a good time, we kept on. It goes from 9 to noon, with coffee in between.”
“And we solve all the world’s problems,” added Nord.
“It’s like the quilting bees used to be,” Koehler said.
Koehler’s first foray into quilting was about 30 years ago, she estimated, as part of an Extension Club lesson. Nord started about 10 years later.
“My husband and I decided one time to try it, so we got a book, and he cut out all the pieces, and I sewed them,” she recalled, adding that her late husband’s interest only lasted for that one quilt while she continued on.
The Piecemakers’ large quilt was truly a group effort, with each member contributing a piece to the whole.
“We had a lot of people who had just started quilting, so we asked them to each bring us a square. We ended up short some pieces, so I added some extras,” said Koehler, who also pieced together the difficult fabric puzzle. “I put it together, and quilted it.”
The quilt was raffled among the members, with the proceeds going to a charitable cause. The group has also used the combined talents of its members to raise money for causes such as public television.
Koehler’s smaller entries for the art center show are each the result of a quilting challenge. For instance, one features a sailing ship created for the Minnesota Quilters annual show in Duluth. Participants were sent selected fabrics and challenged to make a piece with a water-related motif.
Both Koehler and Nord enjoy quilting as an outlet for their creativity, but they enjoy their fellow quilters just as much.
“One thing about it is the nice people you meet,” Koehler noted, “especially that little small group we’re in. It’s just about sitting around a quilt, and you do, you solve problems. We’ve gotten to know each other’s families, kids.”
And there’s the challenge of taking a piece of fabric and turning it into a piece of wearable or usable art, or finishing or restoring a quilt that is part of a family’s history, as the women have done on several occasions for other people.
“We did an old quilt for someone, they just had the top, and it was in bad shape, and just to see that quilt come to life was so special,” said Nord. “And we had such a good time doing it.”
The third biennial quilt show will open with a reception from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Nobles County Art Center, located in the lower level of the War Memorial Building (Nobles County Library), 407 12th St., Worthington. The show will continue through May 31. Hours are 2 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, phone 372-8245.