Big Bend Quilt Trail
The Gadsden Arts Center & Museum is excited to coordinate the Big Bend Quilt Trail Project: a public art installation of large wooden quilt blocks placed around the community. In conjunction with the promotion of the Gadsden Community Quilt Trail, the Museum will host From the Cedar Chest: Southern Quilting, 1830s to Today, an exhibition of quilts borrowed from private and public collections in the North Florida area. Curated from multiple generations, the exhibition will be on display at the Museum September 14–December 14. 2019. It will include antique to modern quilts, and will discuss the practical function of quilting, the social value, the preservation family history through fabrics, and the art of traditional symbols and designs. Havana Main Street is also developing an annual quilt exhibition and sale that will be opening in September.
What are Barn Quilts/Quilt Trails?
Barn Quilts are colorful, painted plywood or metal squares featuring a single quilt block. They traverse the by-ways of rural America, and chances are that you’ll notice them on the sides of historic barns and buildings. A quilt trail is a series of painted wood quilt squares installed at locations along a route, emphasizing significant architecture and/or aesthetic landscapes. Currently North America has 8,000 quilt blocks in all 50 of the United States as well as in three Canadian provinces. To see a national map of the quilt trails visit Barn Quilt Info. Many blocks showcase authentic, established quilt designs and colors, while others are creative and tell a unique story. The outdoor blocks celebrate quilting in rural America. They are public art pieces that honor not only rural arts, but women’s traditional arts. The Florida Quilt Trail was established in 2013 and now more than 100 blocks are on display.
Quilt Trail blocks are typically 8 foot square designed panels, however any size square will work. The base is a cut square of 1/2 inch board; untreated and sanded plywood is recommended to prevent warping and provide a smooth painting surface. A quilt block design is then drawn on the board with a pencil, and using a colorful palette of outdoor paint, a group of painters can fill in the colors. A hard-edged painting style with solid, flat colors incorporating the geometry of quilting is recommended to make the design readily distinguishable as a quilt design. Exterior latex house paint is recommended for most groups for ease of handling and cleanup. The materials cost on average $250 total, not including labor to assemble or paint. Click on the Quilt Block Glossary to download examples of quilt blocks from the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum's exhibition.
Sponsor a Quilt Block
You may want to have quilt murals sponsored and then have them painted by a professional artist. Community groups or artists can also design and paint their own murals. Suggested pricing: $1,000 for 8'x8' and $750 for 4’4' ($250–materials, $400–artist, $300–facilitator). Contact Grace Robinson at 850-627-5020 for more information.
How to Get Involved
Register with Gadsden Arts by contacting Curator Angie Barry, 850-627-5021. Send a picture and complete this form to have your quilt included in the Big Bend Quilt Trail that will be promoted along with the From the Cedar Chest: Southern Quilting, 1830s to Today exhibition at Gadsden Arts. Interested in sponsoring the exhibition or a quilt block? Contact Grace Robinson at 850-627-5020 and check out the sponsor opportunties here.
Recommended Materials List
- 2 Sheets of 4ft by 8ft Medium Density Overlay boards - approximately $37 each
- 1 gal. White Exterior Primer & sealer - approximately $17 (use this to prime and seal)
- Exterior water based paint(s) of choice colors (this will reduce fading)
- 1 Qt clear outdoor water based polyurethane - case of 2 is approximately $25
- Only paint with water based, latex, or acrylic paints
- Cover all sides of the plywood (front, back, and edges) with the primer. After painting the design, brush on at least 2-3 coats of sealer, being sure to cover all sides of the board
Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program and exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Service.
The Black Fig
Moritz and Penny Dehler