If you have been driving the rural routes around Kendall or Le Roy, NY, you may have noticed large, colorful quilt blocks painted on the sides of barns. They are part of a popular art movement known as the American Quilt Trail. Local barn quilt painters are inspired by beloved family quilts, the beauty of bold traditional designs, or quirky names of patterns such as “Drunkard’s Path” or “Hole in the Barn Door.”
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The story of the American Quilt Trail, featuring the colorful patterns of quilt squares writ large on barns throughout North America, is the story of one of the fastest-growing grassroots public arts movements in the United States and Canada. In Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement Suzi Parron travels through twenty-nine states and two Canadian provinces to visit the people and places that have put this movement on America’s tourist and folk art map.Through dozens of interviews with barn artists, committee members, and barn owners Parron documents a journey that began in 2001 with the founder of the movement, Donna Sue Groves. Groves’s desire to honor her mother with a quilt square painted on their barn became a group effort that eventually grew into a county-wide project. Today, registered quilt squares form a long imaginary clothesline, appearing on more than three thousand barns scattered along one hundred driving trails.With more than fifty full-color photographs, Parron documents a movement that combines rural economic development with an American folk art phenomenon.
You may find yourself inspired to paint your own “Barn Quilt” or perhaps sew an actual fabric quilt. The Central Library’s Art Division has hundreds of books to get you started and to fire your imagination.
There are quilting DVDs available, as well…check them out!