Printed in the Baldwin City Community News
October 13, 2021
Who doesn’t love going to a museum and strolling past beautiful works of art? Did you know that is exactly what quilt shows are all about? Whether you attend a local quilt show like the one being held this coming weekend during the Maple Leaf Festival, or the renowned International Quilt Festival held in Houston each October, each show features amazing works of fabric art made by quilters from next door and around the world.
There are many reasons quilters enter their quilts in quilt shows. A few quilters create what are often referred to as “show quilts”—extremely detailed and exquisitely made quilts designed specifically to be entered in juried shows. These elite quilters often make only one quilt a year, knowing they will be entering it into juried shows. Photos and technical information are submitted in advance to be reviewed by a jury of professional quilters. Not every quilt gets accepted into a show. Once a quilt has been juried in, the quilt itself is then sent in to be judged against others in its category, hung in the quilt show display, and winners are awarded ribbons and often cash prizes. Visiting one of these large quilt shows is truly an inspiration.
Most quilters, however, make quilts for the joy of the making. We make bed quilts, baby quilts, table runners, quilted bags or jackets, and so much more. The quilts often are utility quilts to be used on beds or as couch quilts around the home, gifts for family and friends, or to donate to local charities. These are precious possessions, not museum pieces; however, they are nonetheless art created by artists with sewing machines.
The Maple Leaf Quilt Show has been a part of the Maple Leaf Festival since it was started by Enola Gish in 1973. Averaging 100 quilts on display each year, every quilt is unique. You’ll find traditional quilts, modern quilts, art quilts, and so much more. This quilt show is an opportunity for the members of the local Maple Leaf Quilters Guild, as well as quilters from across Kansas and the Midwest to display their quilts for Maple Leaf Festival attendees to enjoy.
The donated quilt to benefit the Baldwin City Community Relief Fund that is being hand quilted by community members will be at the quilt show for visitors to add a few or more than a few stitches to the quilt. With two full days and many visitors to the quilt show we are in hopes that the main body of the quilt will be completed during the festival so it can be bound and finished in time to draw the winning ticket at the Baldwin City Festival of Lights the first weekend in December. Be sure to stop by and add a few stitches to make it truly a community wide project.
Visit the Maple Leaf Quilt Show on Saturday, October 16 from 9am to 6pm and Sunday, October 17 from 10am to 5pm in the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center gymnasium, 100 Bullpup Drive, Baldwin City, right off Hwy 56 on the west side of town. Shuttle buses will be taking visitors to and from the school parking lot to downtown throughout the festival, so be sure to stop in to see the quilts!
The Festival is Coming! And along with the Festival comes the Maple Leaf Quilt Show! It originated in 1973 when Enola Gish, Helen Booth, Helen Gordon, and Helen Ericson approached the Maple Leaf Festival Committee for permission to hold the show. They requested a $25 donation to defray the cost of presenting the show. The committee approved the request, so Enola and her friends gathered up borrowed screens, blackboards, and lumber to set up the show. They had two rows of quilts. Enola's husband, Lowell, became the security person for the show and even spent the nights with the quilts to assure that no harm came to them.
Enola was the driving force behind the quilt shows for 25 years. It was the first recurring quilt show in the state of Kansas. When Enola retired from the quilt show, the Maple Leaf Quilters' Guild agreed to continue the tradition of having a quilt show at every Maple Leaf Festival. Last year, because of the pandemic, they prepared a virtual show. We are very excited this year to have a real, honest-to-goodness quilt show! Since Enola, other chairwomen of the show have been Sharon Vesecky, Judy Masur, Dianna Zampieri, and Cathy Miles. This year's show will be directed by a committee--Ellen Mast, Andrea Newton, Lynda Brittingham, and Gary Keller.
The show is held at the Baldwin Intermediate Center Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 and Sunday 10:00 - 5:00. Approximately 10 quilts will be on display. The maple leaf quilt block kits that have been featured at the show since before I can remember will be available again this year. The winner of the quilt guild's Opportunity Quilt will be drawn at the close of the show on Sunday.
New to the show this year -- The Maple Leaf Quilt Guild is honoring Gwen Whitebread as this year's Featured Quilter and will have several of Gwen's quilts on display. The quilt guild will have some small quilts for sale in the $20-$40 price range, and we will have live music by Gary Keller. The quilt that is being hand-quilted to benefit the Community Emergency Fund will be set up so that show visitors will have the opportunity to help complete the center of the quilt. If you forget your thimble, we will have a few available. My Grandma Susie always said that it was good luck to have as many people as possible put stitches in a quilt. Let's make this quilt excessively lucky!