Barn Quilts Coming to a Barn Near You
Immigrants seeking religious freedom brought Barn Quilts to the United States over 300 years ago. They often decorated their barns with geometric shapes resembling quilt squares. We now know these as Hex Signs found in the Midwest and in Pennsylvania. Barn Quilt decorating peaked in the early 20th century when artists specializing in barn decorating used quilt square patterns in their designs. The movement has been revived from the efforts of Donna Sue Groves to honor her mother, Maxine. Maxine was a quilter so Donna Sue painted a quilt block on her barn. She encouraged her community to follow her example and as a result the first Barn Quilt Trail was formed in Adams County, Ohio in 2001.
The Barn Quilt Program will discuss the history of the quilts, impact on agritourism at the state and local levels, personal reasons to hang a barn quilt honoring our local heritage and if you are interested, a demonstration of how to make a barn quilt. Participants in this program are from Virginia Cooperative Extension, Southside Master Gardener Association, Halifax County Agricultural Development, Hudson Heritage Farm and the Golden Leaf Quilters Guild. Light refreshments will be served.
Making a Barn Quilt square doesn’t mean you’ll spend hours on a ladder. The square is commonly made on a 4’ x 4’ piece of plywood but it could be bigger or smaller, just as long as it is square. Two pieces of plywood could be joined to make an 8’ x 8’ square. Exterior latex is the preferred media. Generally only solid colors are used but patterns are acceptable for those looking for a challenge. Don’t panic if you want to join in the fun but are painting challenged. Some of the indoor vendors at the Halifax Farmers Market will have handmade barn quilts for sale.
To make your day in town even more exciting the Town of Halifax will be holding their Halicraft Art Festival from 9 to 3. This free festival will have all kinds of artwork, craftwork, home-based businesses, Informational booths, kids activities and food trucks. The Halifax Farmers Market will be open with fresh produce, eggs, organic meats, homemade breads and wonderful crafts and collectibles inside.
Caption for picture: This primitive design barn quilt, made by Denise Hudson, depicts a monkey wrench pattern. You can view it at the old Elmo Store on River Road. It depicts the signal to gather all the tools required for the fleeing slave’s journey, meaning the physical tools, as well as the mental and spiritual ones. Attend the Barn Quilt Program on April 1st to learn about these magical creations.