Annual festival brings together quilt artists

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Festival coordinator, Cheryl Degan, explains her work titled Garage Sale Crazy at the 2012 Capital Of Texas QuiltFest. The event exhibits more than 400 art and traditional quilts made by different artists and quilt lovers.

Photo Credit: Haipei Han | Daily Texan Staff

Quilts hung from every corner at the Capital of Texas QuiltFest depicted different types of Texas wildflowers this past weekend, but a closer inspection also revealed stories of the artists who created them.

Sponsored by the Austin Area Quilt Guild, a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the history of quilting and educating others in quilt-making, the three-day festival featured more than 400 art and traditional quilts at the Palmer Events Center. Honoring the wildflowers that bloomed after the 2012 spring rain, the theme of the festival was Wild Texas Flowers. Awards were given for different categories such as best in show, creativity and color.

Some of the quilts on display were hand stitched, some made with a machine and others combined both techniques. Innovative approaches were taken by some artists who made 3-D quilts and others who added a touch of paint to their quilt.

Studio Art freshman Lillian Byrd said her grandmother displayed a quilt named “Lilly’s Quilt” that she made as a high school graduation present to Byrd. Byrd said she is intrigued by the folk art aspect of quilt-making as well as its unique spin on art.

“It’s interesting to see how the quilts that my grandmother makes turn out,” Byrd said. “I feel like they differ depending on who she is making them for as well as the mood she is in while constructing them.”

Festival coordinator Cheryl Degan won the co-chair award, an award given to a quilt maker by Austin Area Quilt Guild officials, for her quilt that depicted a scene of flowers.

“Everything is big in Texas, and I wanted big flowers that drift outside of the quilt border,” Degan said. “I wanted this quilt to open people’s mind to a new idea of quilting. My friend designed the quilt on the computer and then I ran with the idea.”

Degan displayed another quilt in the festival titled “Garage Sale Crazy,” which was stitched together using fabric found at garage sales, as well as a patch of her daughter’s corduroy pants. The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History also works to educate the public by sharing its quilts through exhibits and programs. The center holds the Winedale Quilt Collection, which contains more than 400 American quilts covering 200 years of quilt-making, as well as documentary resources which provide information on the role of the quilts in Texas and American history. Briscoe Center spokeswoman Erin Purdy said the documentation catalogues information about the quilt-makers as well as the whole quilting industry.

“The majority of the quilts were made by women and the documentation helps paint a picture of what women’s lives were like,” Purdy said.

Printed on Monday, September 17, 2012 as: Festibal quilts Texas wildflowers