Billings Farm & Museum is pleased to announce the Jurors Choice and Staff Choice Award for the 36th Annual Quilt Exhibition. The awards were presented at the opening reception on Friday, June 3.
Each quilt submitted for the exhibition was juried by quilting experts in the region, including Colleen O’Neill from Cornish, NH, Froncie Quinn from New London, NH, and Jen Daly from Grantham, NH. Each juror selected one quilt to receive a Juror’s Award.
Juror Colleen O’Neill selected “My Blue Heaven” by Erma Hastings of Hartford, VT. Inspired by an intriguing layout variation for the “Hunter’s Star,” a traditional quilting design, Hastings used an array of fabrics from her collection to create this “scrappy quilt.” The artful juxtaposition of the dark blue and white fabrics creates the sense of stargazing on a clear night. At first glance, the eye is drawn to the biggest, brightest stars. On further inspection, the viewer is invited to explore deeper to discover countless stars twinkling from galaxies away. The evocative composition challenges the viewer’s imagination and illudes to a sneak peek into what may lie beyond the first impression.
Juror Froncie Quinn selected “Joyful Seasons” by Kathy Devlin McManus of Springfield, VT. McManus commented that, “being an artist and loving our four seasons, I decided to design a wall quilt that would represent the beauty and joy of those four seasons.” Over the course of two years, McManus hand-sewed minuscule hexagons for the quilt top to create complex layers of detail and sophisticated geometry to depict the heart of each season and the ever-evolving transition of time.
Truly a beauty to behold, the bottom is laced with snow covered trees and playful snowmen. The transition is nearly imperceivable as snowflakes melt to form new life. The spring buds transition from full bloom and bounty of summer into the last hurray of autumn colors. The top brings the seasons full circle with snow crested Balsam evergreens against a full sky of stars.
Juror Jen Daly selected “Martha” by Linda Diak, of Chester, VT. Diak explained that “from her curly forehead locks to her shaggy coat, from her big, steady eyes, to her elegant nose and knowing smile, Martha is a composite of all the cows I have admired over the years.”
Diak brings her subject matter to life through incredible skill, creativity, and vision. She uses fabric and thread as if they were viscous paint applied with a brush rather than pieced together and sewn. Diak explains that the “quilting was done on a sit-down machine and is all freehand, or free-motion, quilting. Just as Martha is a blend of tradition and fun, the quilting incorporates traditional feathers and stippling with lighter, more fanciful elements in the locks, the fur, and the sunflowers.” The painting-like quilt is truly a treasure with subject matter so fitting at Billings Farm.
The Billings Farm & Museum Staff Choice was awarded to “Stories “by Kathleen Geagan of Brownsville, VT. Her journey began in 1984, with cross-country trips, vacations and visits to U.S. and Canadian National Parks and Monuments, The New Zealand Great Walks, and Australia’s Heron Island. Using 61 patches collected from her travels, Geagan crafted a beautiful quilt. Each National Park patch is centered in its own quilt square with fabric that captures the essence of the park. Geagan commented that, “the fabric from each square was specifically chosen as part of the story.” The sense of adventure and idea that each square contains countless stories resonated significantly with the Billings Farm & Museum staff.
The Activity Barn at Billings Farm & Museum has been transformed by the incredible display of color and design of the 44 artfully crafted quilts in the 36th Annual Quilt Exhibition. The exhibition features contemporary quilts made by Windsor County Quilters, challenge quilts using neckties by the Delectable Mountain Quilters, and historical quilts with optical illusion patterns from the museum’s collection. The exhibition can be viewed daily through July 10 from 10AM to 5PM and is included in the price of admission.