In quiltmaking, Modern hearts Traditional

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The Beaufort Modern Quilt Guild invites the public to a reception on Saturday, May 4, from 6-8 p.m. at ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center. This party celebrates all quilts: from the work of the Sea Island Quilters of Beaufort, who are having their show May 3 & 4 at the nearby Green Street Gym, to the Guild’s own show, on view at ARTworks through May.

Quilt by Rhonda Jordan
Quilt by Rhonda Jordan

For their first exhibition at ARTworks, the Beaufort Modern Quilt Guild invited guild members from Greenville and Charleston too. Paige Alexander, a Greenville quilter, said, “It’s just great that this show is bringing us together from across the state. I started out as a traditional quilter, but with everything out on the internet, I was drawn to the modern. The info on blogs is vast and instant.” Her modern quilt for the Beaufort show is “a little scrappy improv piece called Confetti, with batiks and hand-dyed fabrics. It’s my first modern quilt really.”

Brenda Wall is part of the Greenville Modern Quilt Guild too and has been quilting since the 1970s. She said, “The modern themes and styles that you see in blogland have spoken to me, made me stop and pay attention more, I like the no rules part of it, I don’t like to quilt with a pattern, I prefer to do my own thing, and that’s my passion, than ‘have to do it a certain way.’ That’s what appeals to me, the colors, the open spaces, I like to spend some time quilting in those spaces.”

Rhonda Jordan owns Tabby Fabric & Studio in downtown Beaufort, where the guild meets. Her interest in quilts started as a teen: “My mom loved the Smoky Mountains so every couple of years we would go to Asheville or Gatlinburg for a family vacation. One summer, I had somehow managed to save a considerable amount of money for a high school student with a babysitting job. I took it with me so I could buy the coolest “souvenir” ever. I knew we would be going to shops that had unique handmade jewelry and had dreams of buying a one of a kind bracelet or something like that. Nothing really struck my eye until I saw a wall of handmade quilts! I fell in

Quilt by Kelly Biscopink
Quilt by Kelly Biscopink

love with one that had slate blue (of course, it was 1990) eight-point stars on a white background. It was pillowcase bound with hand quilting. I think I spent around $225 for that quilt, all of my own money. It was a fortune for a high school kid. I don’t know why I had to buy that quilt. I put it in the closet when I got home because I was afraid it would get messed up. The quilt now lives in the linen closet of my adulthood home. It gets taken out almost nightly when my children are cold or when my youngest son wants to sleep on the floor in his big brother’s room. It has been washed and worn but is still holding it’s own.”

Kelly Biscopink is in the show at ARTworks too. She’s the co-author of “Modern Designs for Classic Quilts,” and a popular quilt blogger based in Charleston: “I every time I sit down to sew, I feel very connected to everyone who came before me. I learned to quilt from my mother and she learned from her mother. There’s such a long history of quilting. The community of quilters is important to me. It’s thriving and connected to the past, which is wonderful.”

Abbey Reed, whose modern 60×60 inch quilt is also at ARTworks, sees quilting as an artistic outlet. “Modern quilts are often random, but I like symmetry, the math part of it all,” she said. “I’m not an artist, I can’t paint or draw, but I love the feel of fabric. I have found my way into the artworld with quilting.”

Stop by to meet and see them at 2127 Boundary Street, 29902, www.ArtWorksInBeaufort.org, 843-379-2787.

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