A stitch in time ... is timeless

Salt Creek Quilters Guild holds its first public exhibit after hiatus

Two years ago the Salt Creek Quilters Guild marked 40 years as part of Hinsdale's artistic fabric.

Unfortunately the pandemic put the kibosh on the public show planned to commemorate the milestone. But just as patience can lead to exceptional craftsmanship, the intervening time has produced a party worth waiting for.

A Celebration of Quilts will be held tomorrow and Saturday, April 21 and 22, at Union Church, 137 S. Garfield Ave. The event will feature more than 200 quilts on display and a live quilt auction from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit Wellness House.

Throughout the guild's rich history of promoting the textile art form through biannual shows, this is the first time one will be held in a church.

"Basically we wanted to do something different," said Hinsdale's Joan Chao, guild president.

Longtime guild member Betsy Maloney said the majority of quilts will be draped over the church's pews instead of hanging them, as is custom.

"It will be a different way of looking at a quilt. There's a uniqueness to it," Maloney said.

In addition, a special exhibit of red and white quilts will pay tribute to the guild's "ruby" 40th anniversary. And another section honors Carole King's "Tapestry" album, which turned 50 in 2021.

"We had a challenge where members could make a quilt inspired by Carole King or one of her songs," Chao related.

That resulted in 26 submissions, prompting a guild member to write to King about their effort.

"(Carole King's team) wanted to do a video for the (album's) 50th anniversary and feature our quilts in it," she said. "We sent the quilts off to L.A. and those guys made a video, which you can see on YouTube."

As surreal as that exposure was, the snippets visible in the video don't do the quilts justice.

"At our show, you can see the whole quilts," Chao said, noting that the video will also be shown at the celebration.

The live auction – another first for the guild - will give guests a chance to bid on more than 80 different items.

"We've got an award-winning professional auctioneer coming in to help us," Chao said.

Or they might win one of 40 opportunity baskets, including specially arranged offerings for wine lovers, young readers and American Girl fans.

"We're trying to appeal to everybody, not just quilters," member Anne Zick said.

Fans of handmade goods can peruse the vendor mall.

"Some of them are quilting related, and some are more artisan- and crafty-type vendors," Chao said.

And be sure to save some money for the bake sale with treats homemade by guild members.

"Quilters are good bakers," Chao quipped.

Maloney said the event is a time for reconnecting with loyal quilt show attendees they haven't seen since before the pandemic.

"We have many people that have been coming to our quilt show for many years, and they really look forward to it," Maloney said.

A tribute section of the show will pay homage to members that have passed away recently.

Reaching beyond the traditional quilting audience is a primary guild goal, the ladies stressed.

"One of the things we want to accomplish is to draw in non-quilters and educate people about the art of quilting, so they can appreciate the artistry of it," Chao said.

Member Marie Dold said she's always struck by the innovative designs at the show.

"There are so many modern types of quilts," Dold said. "I like to see what all the women do. They're really so beautiful."

Zick said the U.S. Bicentennial of 1976 breathed new life into quilting, and a kind of resurgence seems to be happening among the rising generation.

Chao agreed, saying younger people are discovering and using quilting techniques on less time-consuming projects like tote bags and table runners.

The show helps foster fellowship among quilting enthusiasts while affording a glimpse on the current state of the craft, Maloney said.

"It's about sharing an interest in this type of artwork," Maloney said of the guild's camaraderie. "It's for all people who appreciate quilts."

That message was underscored by Chao, who invited people to see that the craft isn't limited to heirloom family quilts anymore.

"The show is also good for non-quilters who are just interested in purchasing a quilt. We have quilts from all sizes, from baby quilts to wall-hangings and larger bed-size quilts," she commented. "The show isn't just for quilters.

A Celebration of Quilts will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. tomorrow and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $6 in advance and $7 at the door.

For advance tickets, send an email to [email protected]. For more information on the show and the guild, visit http://www.saltcreekqg.org.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean