By SHELBY MERTENS
Daily News-Record 2/12/19
HARRISONBURG — The Virginia Quilt Museum is launching its 2019 season on Feb. 19 with four exhibits that will run until the summer.
The downtown Harrisonburg museum, 301 S. Main St., closed since Dec. 16, reopens with exhibits that will showcase local, regional and internationally made quilts representing a range of styles and techniques.
“It’s a good representation of what traditional quilts look like and then what contemporary quilts are. So, you can see all the different aspects of quilting there, from the very traditional type that will go on your bed to the ones that are made specifically to be artwork,” said Susan Farmer, executive director of the Virginia Quilt Museum.
The “Contemporary Quilt Art from the International Quilt Festival Collection” exhibit consists of 25 quilts made between 1994 and 2008 from the International Quilt Festival in Houston on loan from the Texas Quilt Museum and curated by Sandra Sider, the curator for the Texas Quilt Museum. The collection has been assembled into a nationally touring exhibit, Farmer said.
The contemporary quilts depict themes and styles such as “narration, color abstraction, landscapes, the cosmos and a homage to antique quilts,” according to Farmer.
“I’m excited about the contemporary quilts from Texas that we’re about to have because they’re so different than what people think of as traditional quilts,” she said. “When you think of a quilt, you think of something your great-grandma made that’s on the bed. These contemporary quilts are so very different from that. They’re very colorful and bright, and they represent what quilting is moving toward as far as what can be done with fabric and it still be considered a quilt.”
Harrisonburg quilter Barbara Cline will display 25 of her quilts in the exhibit “A Creative Quilting Odyssey.” Cline has written quilting books and has taught classes for more than 35 years.
“Her focus is she makes traditional quilts with a new spin,” Farmer said.
Another new exhibit features a selection of 37 quilts from the Madison County Quilt Guild, “A Collection of Guild Challenges and Favorites.”
“We always try to showcase a local quilt guild because we’re the Virginia Quilt Museum, so we represent the whole state,” she said.
The fourth exhibit draws from the quilt museum’s permanent collection of more than 300 quilts. “Treasures From the Vault: Virginia Stars” highlights the quilts in the collection dating back as far as the 1800s that feature various types of stars.
“It’s going to focus on star motifs, images and patterns,” Farmer said.
In total, around 110 quilts will be on display, counting the quilts in the museum’s permanent exhibits.
On Feb. 23, the Virginia Quilt Museum will host a meet and greet for the quilters to speak to the community about their craft. Farmer, Cline and quilters from the Madison County Quilt Guild will give talks, starting at 10 a. m.
All four exhibits will be on display until July 13.
New exhibits will debut on July 23, with a display of quilts from a West Virginia quilt guild called “From the Hills and Hollers.” Another exhibit will showcase quilts inspired by Elvis Presley, and next in the “Treasures From the Vault” series from the museum’s permanent collection will show quilts from the Shenandoah Valley Quilt Guild.
Farmer said the quilt museum is trying out new events this year, including demonstrations on various techniques, such as appliqué or hand quilting, including a foot-pedaled antique sewing machine.
On March 16, National Quilting Day, guests can bring in their old, handed down quilts for evaluators who can date antique quilts and provide more information about them.
“We have lots of new things happening here,” Farmer said.
Regular admission to the Virginia Quilt Museum is $8, $7 for seniors and military, and $5 for students.