Want to go?
• What: Stars & Stripes Quilt Guild Show
• When: Opening reception 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday;
Exhibition 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays
• Where: Hinesville Area Arts Council gallery, 102 Commerce Street, Hinesville
• More: www.hinesvillearts.com
Schools may no longer offer home economics classes, but a local group this month will prove that quilting is a thriving art with a Hinesville Area Arts Council exhibition.
“We are venturing, we are really venturing out, trying to reach out public,” Stars & Stripes Quilt Guild president Karen Haymans said. “I keep telling them: ‘Quilting is a dying art because people think they can’t do this.’”
Guild member and Hinesville GIS employee Anna Phillips, whose photography was featured in November, encouraged the group to create an exhibition.
“Or they don’t want to do it like grandma did, and it’s changed so much,” Phillips added. “The tools make it quicker; we have computerized quilting so you don’t have to spend months quilting.”
The group will showcase about 50 quilt items that represent new and old styles of the form as the Hinesville Area Arts Council’s March exhibitor. A 5:30-7 p.m. reception Thursday will mark the exhibit’s debut.
Another event on March 16 will celebrate World Quilting Day with demonstrations and opportunities to meet and greet with guild members. The exhibition will be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Thursday through the end of the month.
Currently, the 45-member group meets at the Senior Citizens Center on the first Tuesday of the month and second Saturday. Both meetings are a chance for veteran quilters to hone and share their skills and for newcomers to learn the trade.
“I would say we range from teenagers to over 80, and actually, they all intertwine, because something that somebody else does, we may say ‘I want to do that — show me what you’re doing,’” Haymans said. Among the members are soldiers, nurses, teachers, doctors, librarians and chiropractors.
Phillips and Haymans said quilting is a creative outlet where they can illustrate images using compilations of fabrics and pictures or using different patterns.
“I don’t know if it’s an addiction as much as just, I get peace from it,” Haymans said. Some of her children quilt today, and others do not — but even the ones who shy away from the hobby manage to call with custom-order requests.
“I slip upstairs when TV’s boring and just start sewing,” Phillips added. She made her first quilt in 1982, and it took almost three years. Now, she can finish a quilt within three days depending on how intricate the pattern is.
Some of the items will be on sale, and some guild members are willing to take custom orders, Haymans said. The group often participates in fundraising efforts for local groups by raffling items.
The women compared their thoughts on the art and listed sentimental items they’ve saved over time, such as patchwork bears that belonged to their now-grown children.
“I just think that if more people realize what they had from the past, … I like to touch something old, when I look at something and I hold something that my grandmother had a hold of, it gives me a sense of ‘Gosh, I miss her, but, gosh, I’m holding something she had in her hands,’” Haymans added.
As for the technological advances that reduce completion time for the quilts, Phillips contends that they do not reduce the artistic value.
“I want to ask those men: ‘Do you still do wood-working by chisel and a hammer?’” she said. “They use power tools, why can’t we use power tools? Our power tools just happen to be a sewing machine or a computer sewing machine … I started drawing maps with pen and ink and scribe-code; who does that anymore? Twenty-seven years ago. I use computers, so why would that not be the same way we migrate our favorite hobbies into using computers?”