By MELINDA WILLIAMS
WYTHEVILLE – Virginia Consortium of Quilters is looking to document Southwest Virginia quilt makers and the quilts they handmade prior to 2000.
Those having quilts meeting these criteria are asked to bring them to a Quilt Documentation and Discovery Day to be held Saturday, Nov. 23, at Wytheville’s Heritage Preservation Center, 115 West Spiller St. between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Volunteers will be photographing and recording information about each quilt and its maker to be added to a database kept at Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg.
Although there is a limit of three quilts per person, the quilts are not limited to antiques. Neva Hart, a quilt historian from Hardy, explained, “We’re also looking for 20th century quilts to see how quilters and quilt styles have changed over the past century. The emphasis will be on quilts made by Virginians, but all quilts brought to the Documentation Day will be recorded.”
She said the project is part of an ongoing effort to record Virginia’s quilt artistry and history.
“About 25 years ago, a statewide program was begun to create a database of older quilts in the Commonwealth,” said Hart. The original project, which took more than five years to complete, documented more than 3,000 quilts.
“We learned a lot about quilts from that effort, but the research published in 2006 only covered quilts made before 1900. Now we hope to document quilts we may have missed the first time and to document quilts from new residents,” she said.
Data gathered will be available for future use by history, genealogy and material culture researchers. Hart said confidentiality of quilt owners will be protected.
Documentation Day is free. No appointments are necessary, but documentation will be on a first come, first served basis. Owners are asked to bring a photograph of the quilt maker, if possible. Photographs will be copied and the originals returned to the owner.
The event is co-sponsored by Hands All Around Quilters, Sew What Fabrics & Batiks Etcetera, Wythe County Historical Society, Town of Wytheville Department of Museums, Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation & Museum and the Virginia Consortium of Quilters.
Results of the first documentation project were published in the book “Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899,” which is still available through Amazon.com.
For more information, contact Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org, (540) 427-0184 or on Facebook at “Virginia Quilt Documentation.”