When we think of quilts, we think of American pioneers and Southern sewing circles.
The tradition of quilting here began out of necessity. Colonists needed to stay warm, but buying blankets from Europe was expensive and time-consuming. Quilting made use of scrap material and let the quilter add as much insulation as needed for warmth.
As quilting became more of an art form, the quilts were used to mark historical events, celebrate rites of passage, such as weddings and new babies, and to tell stories of hope, survival and liberation, especially among African-American quilters.
The quilting tradition is alive and well in South Carolina. You would be hard pressed to pass through a small town that did not have someone’s quilting work on display in a museum, antique shop or local thrift store.
You have two excellent opportunities before the end of August to see displays and learn more about quilting.
On Saturday (Aug. 25), author Suzi Parron will be at the Pickens County Museum of Art & History
(864) 898-5963, 307 Johnson St., Pickens
, to make a presentation and sign copies of her book “Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement.”
Barn quilts are actually paintings done in the pattern and style of traditional quilts. The paintings are typically on large pieces of wood that are then hung on buildings – usually barns – as art.
According to the folks at the museum, there are more than 4,000 barn quilts across the U.S. and Canada, with Tennessee being home to about 800. Parron’s book is the result of three years of travel across the U.S. talking with barn owners about their new form of “quilting.” Her book is $25 and includes more than 80 photos of the unique artwork. Her presentation begins at 1 p.m.
You can see the work of some of the finest Carolina quilters on display through the end of August at the Hartsville Museum
(843) 383-3005, 222 N. Fifth St.
The Swamp Fox Quilters Guild
– Challenge 2012 gathered entries from dozens of area quilters. A panel of judges has selected winners, but museum visitors can choose their favorite as well. Admission is free and the exhibit is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday (closed for lunch noon to 1 p.m. on Friday) and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday.