By MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN – A wet rainy weekend couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of 1,200 visitors to the Narragansett Bay Quilters’ Association’s “Garden of Quilts” show held Saturday and Sunday at North Kingstown High School.
Using a theme of nature, veteran and novice quilters created traditional flower gardens of fabric, bits of paradise that included birds and animals as well as farm scenes and collections of cotton-printed vegetables.
Among the amazing works of art was Joan Potter’s “America, America, God Shed His Grace on Thee,” a monumental quilt reminiscent of a Maxwell Mays painting. The quilter’s note said it took her a year to find the courage to start the project and 11 years to finish it.
Saturday’s Viewers’ Choice award went to “Double Dutch Star” by quilter Jane Viglionese who pieced and hand-quilted it, while Sunday’s special selection was awarded to appliqué quilter Gladys Grace’s entry “Ladies of the Sea.” The large piece was machine quilted by April Gilroy of Little Rest Quilting.
Quilting techniques were demonstrated, vendors plied their wares and there were children’s activities and a fashion show but the big attraction was the gymnasium-cum-art gallery hung with 300 pieces from huge quilts to miniature wall hangings. Visitors exclaimed in amazement at the array of handiwork and depth of imagination. Many took photographs for inspiration.
Through admission fees and raffles, the 260-member organization raised what co-chair Joan Halley called “a significant amount of money that will be donated to the Holly Charette House in Lincoln.” That entity, part of Operation Stand Down, provides housing and job training for homeless women veterans.
“Our Sunday mini-auction also raised money for the New England Quilt Museum located in Lowell, Mass.,” added Halley.
Show judge Beverly Fine, an author and expert certified by the National Quilting Association, evaluated submitted entries based on workmanship and design. Ribbons were awarded before the start of the show.
Nina Ashworth’s “Liberties Taken with Degas’ Dancers” took two prizes including Best in Challenge, the top honor. Other winners were Pat Bruno, Billie Bunnewith, Sue Tierney, Anne Sabatini, Joan Johnson, Mary Cline, and Alice Hourihan. Honorable mention went to Sharon Bibeault, Christine Bonin, Pat Cole and Sharon Mayers.