The Barn Pilgrimage

In every odd numbered year The Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio, hosts Quilt National, one of the premier juried art quilt exhibits.  Athens isn’t near any place (except Ohio University), so you need to go a few hours out of your way to get there.  But let me tell you, there’s no substitute for seeing the quilts entered in person. Pictures don’t do justice to the surfaces, colors, and textures.  I hope you can see this show, but if not, maybe you can catch one of the three traveling exhibitions in St. Louis, Missouri; San Jose, California; or Moorhead, Minnesota.

Now, photography isn’t allowed and I understand that, as the organizers would like people to buy the catalogue.  However, I came across another blogger, Notes from Norma, who attended the show’s opening and did indeed take photos with her handy portable device.  Follow the link if you’d like to see her photos, which are mostly of the lovely details. And the angels are in the details.  You can also see the leaders for the People’s Choice award here.

This year 87 pieces are on offer, chosen from 851 entries based on photos of the works.  Some trends noted:

  • digital photos printed on fabric, sometimes manipulated before printing, and often stitched over/through, etc.  Even the Mona Lisa made an appearance.
  • lots of hand stitching work that’s not traditional hand quilting.  Marianne Burr’s piece is a great example.
  • use of transparent overlays, sometimes in conjunction with photos and sometimes with object/fabrics trapped between layers
  • interesting use of nontraditional material – barricade tape, plastic bags, crockery bits, coiled fabric

Theo’s Garden detail, by Marianne Burr (has another piece in show)

Deidre Adams detail

Deidre Adams detail from SAQA auction quilt, another of her pieces is in show


Elin Noble (another piece is in show)

SpringField by Brooke Atherton

SpringField by Brooke Atherton, Best of Show

 The Best of Show winner is 97 inches wide and is chock full of detail, including sewn on bits of crockery.  It reminds me of the panoramic birds eye views of towns that were made in the 19th century.  You really need to spend a lot of time taking in all the details in this piece.


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Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

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