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Amelia Islander

Art with a Story

Jan 07, 2020 10:40AM ● By Tom Barrett
By Julie Simmons • Photo courtesy of Amelia Island Quilters Guild

Have you ever looked at a beautiful quilt and wondered what motivated someone to take a piece of fabric, cut it up, and then sew it back together to create a work of art? Or maybe when you see a quilt, you are flooded with memories of cuddling under a blanket like that on your great grandmother’s sofa. Or perhaps you visited Community Hospice Center this year and saw a delicate handmade quilt bringing peace to someone in need.

Whatever you think about when you see a beautiful quilt, you might be interested to learn about the Amelia Island Quilt Guild and the work it is doing to keep this art alive on Amelia Island. “We no longer accept the notion that our grandmothers made quilts for utilitarian reasons,” smiles Lauree Hemke, a member of the Quilt Guild’s board of directors. “We look at quilts and recognize the artwork and think of the stories that go along with the colors.”

Started in 1989 with just 30 members, the non-profit organization was established to promote quilting and educate the public about the art of quilting. Today, the group is over 100 members strong, with their focus centered on the work they do for our community, including a two-day quilt show coming next month.

“The show will  feature over 200 quilts fashioned by guild members that reflect the history of quilt making,” says Rozlyn Warren, co-chair of the event. “Many members make quilts using traditional patterns, while others choose vintage or modern fabrics. Some gravitate to modern quilts, with its trend towards open space and bold colors, and others will display their talents through fiber arts, combining quilting with techniques such as embroidery, bead work, and applique.”

The entries will be judged by Lauren Kingsland, a nationally certified judge with work exhibited in galleries and shows throughout the country. She is dedicated to quilt-making as a medium for storytelling, for building community, and for healing and wellness. The show also includes a Quilt and Fiber Art Boutique featuring quilts, wall hangings, gifts, and wearable arts items for sale. The event will also have a silent auction, raffle baskets, and door prizes.

At the show, you’ll see some quilting patterns that you will recognize, and you’ll see lots of creativity, too. No matter the piece, the members of the Guild encourage you to ask, ‘What story is the quilt trying to tell?’ Perhaps as interesting as seeing the works of art is the opportunity the show offers for guests of all ages to meet with the quilt artists, hear their stories, see their techniques and tools of the trade, and to learn a new hand-sewing technique or show off their own skills by joining the show’s community quilt-in!

As inspiring as the art of quilting is, the work the Guild does for other local non-profits is equally inspiring. “During 2019, we created over 300 quilts for each patient at our Community Hospice Center,” shares Lauree. “Our charity quilter makes use of donated and purchased fabrics to create a quilt to bring comfort to the patient and their families.” Other organizations, such as the Council on Aging, Habitat for Humanity, and Nassau Animal Shelter, also receive quilts or other sewn items.” The Guild’s newest outreach is making surgical caps for children and youth at Wolfson’s Clinic. All proceeds from the show fund these community service and educational projects.

The Amelia Island Quilt Guild show runs on February 21 and 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Atlantic Recreation Center, 2500 Atlantic Avenue. Admission to the show is $10, with free parking. For more information about the Amelia Island Quilt Guild, visit www.aiquilters.com or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/quiltsbytheseaamelia.