Wednesday, July 23, 2014

‘Quilt Trail’ project starting to spread beauty across the county

J-E News Editor
Motorist around Webster County have probably noticed several brightly colored quilt block designs hanging on the sides of various buildings, but many of those people still don’t know the story behind those blocks. They also don’t know that blocks just like those have gone up all across the state of Kentucky and throughout many other states as part of Quilt Trails.

“The quilt blocks project is sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Office,” said Carolyn Townsend, one of the women who paint the blocks seen in Webster County. “They are in most of the states now. Webster County’s Quilt Trail started last October. Extension Agent Katie Alexander, Cathy Jones and Mary Ellen Wagner were very important in getting it started.”
Townsend, along with six or seven other painters, meet regularly in Dixon to work on the blocks, which are much more complicated than just grabbing a brush and going to work.
“You have to tape off the area that you are going to paint,” said Townsend. “Once you are finished painting, you have to wait 48 hours before you can paint the spot next to it! You can imagine the number of hours that go into painting one block.”
Recently one of the group’s blocks went up on the side of the Post Office in Dixon as part of a city beautification project which also includes three murals painted by artist Eddie Patmore.
“We tried to use as much local talent as we possibly could,” said Dixon Mayor Linda Frederick.
Businessman Sam McCleod, owner of the building that houses the Dixon Post Office, was quick to allow the block to be hung on his building.
“The first block that was hung as part of the Union County Quilt Trail was in honor of my mother,” he explained. That block is located on the back of the library.
The original Quilt Trail project began in Adams County, Ohio, where Donna Sue Groves, a field representative for the Ohio Arts Council, wanted a quilt square painted on her barn in honor of her mother, a lifelong quilter. After involving several of her friends in the effort, the idea spread. Soon they had painted blocks on other barns and buildings and put together the first driving trail.
“Once we have enough blocks painted we plan on printing brochures that will show where they are all located,” said Townsend. “We still have places we can place blocks, if anyone would like to have one painted in honor of a loved one.”
Anyone interested in having a block painted or interested in offering a structure on which one can be placed should contact the Webster County Cooperative Extension Office in Dixon. According to Alexander there have been over thirty applications turned in.
The blocks are painted on ploybond metal with sign paint that is supposed to last ‘longer than any of us’ according to Townsend. The cost of having a block painted is $150 for a 4’X4’ square or $250 for the 8’ X 8’ block. The painters say the charge is just enough to cover the cost of materials used.
Currently 19 blocks have been painted and hung around the county. Not all of them are traditional quilt designs. Some of them have images mixed in with th design, such as a ‘UK’ logo or an image of wildlife.

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