Some of the North Country’s best quilts on display at LPCA
LAKE PLACID — Forty-eight quilts adorn the Lake Placid Center for the Arts gallery walls.
The Quilt Show, which runs until Feb. 9, is curated from the collections of some of the North Countries best quilters — the patterning on display making use of some original materials, from corduroy to rusty road debris.
“Some of us can’t paint, or do any of that kind of stuff, play music,” said Lonnie Henry, Adirondack Quilter’s Guild member, “but you can create stuff. You know, quilts. You can use an existing design or adapt them for your own needs. It’s a challenge to come up with something interesting to look at.”
The show is in partnership between the LPCA and the Adirondack Quilter’s Guild. Open hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Over light refreshments, attendees browsed the curated quilts on Thursday evening at the show’s opening. Some of the artists were in attendance.
“It’s quite a bit different,” Nancie Battaglia said, looking at “Button Log Cabin,” by Bethany Krawiec. “The buttons I think are a pretty fun touch — adding circles to all the rectangles and squares.”
Guild member Barbara Singer said it’s all about color for her, in quilt making.
“Putting different combinations together, combinations and permutations,” Singer said. “I mean you look around here at all the different quilts they have red in them and none of them are the same … it’s just colors and imagination.”
Gwyn Bissonette, who said she’s done some quilting in the past, was dazzled by the scale and skill on display.
“I’m very impressed, and I do sew, but not like that.” Bissonette said, looking at “Wind in the Whiskers” designed by Mckenna Ryan and created by Phoebe Everson. “They’re pieces of art … they’ve got to cut the material and bend it and shape it. Very impressive.”
Alison Simcox, LPCA marketing director, said she appreciated the different fabrics integrated in the pieces.
“I love that they have corduroy in it,” Simcox said, looking at “Tile Challenge” by Bethany Krawiec. “I find that particularly impressive.”
“The quilting itself is an art,” Singer said. “The thread that holds it together, to make it utilitarian, has also become an art in itself.”
She said if you look at “Red River Journey” by Bethany Krawiec, for instance, the pattern of the actual quilting, or the binding of the layers of fabric together, transforms the piece.
“If you saw that quilt before it was quilted, it looks entirely different,” Singer said. “Because that gives it texture. It makes your eye flow from one portion of the quilt to another. It enhances certain portions and causes other portions to sink into the background. So there’s an artistic value to the quilting in itself.”
After a pitch from LPCA Executive Director James Lemons, LPCA Assistant Program Director Anya Villeneuve said she reached out to Mary Ellen Henry, then-president of the Adirondack Quilter’s Guild.
Mary Ellen said she and Lonnie worked with Villeneuve to contact all the quilters they knew for possible exhibition.
“The first time around there was about 60,” Mary Ellen Henry said, of the number of pieces she submitted to Villeneuve.
“I kind of took what they gave me and narrowed it down to what would work size-wise, and what would look good as a cohesive show,” Villeneuve said, “and this is what we came up with.”
Not all of the quilts on display are creations of the Adirondack Quilter’s Guild. The Henrys made sure to reach out to everyone they could think of.
“Originally (the LPCA) approached us as a guild,” Lonnie said, “but we were concerned that there were a lot of local people here that didn’t belong to a guild, some people who quilt on their own or in other small groups, and we wanted to make sure they were included.”
The guild was formed in the early 2000s out of less than a dozen interested individuals.
“It started with a bunch of ladies that took a class at Jo-Anne’s Fabrics in Malone and thought, ‘This is fun we ought to get together and do this,'” Mary Ellen said. “And so they did.”
The guild meets a couple times a month for a variety of activities, such as going over business, receiving guest presentations or swapping fat quarters — 18-by-21-inch pieces of fabric.
According to Singer, at last count, the guild has given over $35,000 to organizations like Meals on Wheels and LifeFight. The organization funds itself in part with a biennial quilt raffle the guild works together on. The next raffle is in 2020.
“We’ve done buntings (decorations) for the neonatal unit at Alice Hyde Hospital,” Singer said. “We’ve done different things for the nursing homes, pillow cases, head wraps for the cancer center in Malone. Just about anything that has to do with fabrics and sewing, we’ve worked on it.”
For more information about the The Quilt Show, visit the LPCA’s website at www.lakeplacidarts.org/gallery/upcoming-shows/quilt-show.
To learn more about the Adirondack Quilter’s Guild, visit its website at http://adirondackquiltersguild.org.