COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - River Country Quilters Treasurer Shirley Barks stands with one of the quilts she made for the group’s annual exhibit at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, titled “Convex Illusion.” The exhibit, which features almost 100 quilts, is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 14.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - A selection of quilts on display at the River County Quilters exhibit at the Carnegie Center for the Arts hang over the second-floor opening.

Quilt show opens up at Carnegie Center

River Country Quilters exhibit runs through Dec. 14

THREE RIVERS — A longtime exhibit at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers returned this month, with a bit more normal of a celebration than last year.

The River Country Quilters exhibit at the Carnegie opened Sunday, Nov. 14, covering a number of the center’s galleries with nearly 100 quilts made by quilters from around the Three Rivers area.

“We have some that are old quilts, some that have hung in other shows, we just want to make sure we filled the room,” Shirley Barks, treasurer of the River Country Quilters, said.

The show has been running for a number of years, with some estimates dating the first exhibit back to 2000. Barks said there are a number of returning quilts, with a few new ones joining in. Some of the returning quilts are what she considered “antique” quilts, including a baby quilt her grandmother made for her back in 1941 and the quilt Barks herself made for her new baby.

“Those have been in shows before, but those are definitely old ones,” Barks said.

An open house was held for the exhibit on Nov. 14, the first time since 2019 it had a formal open house event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people visited the exhibit on opening day, which also featured a concert by The Geiman Trio, a double trumpet and piano trio, at 3 p.m. following the open house.

Barks said it was great to have the exhibit open up relatively normal, something that didn’t happen last year because of the pandemic.

“It's wonderful, because we can enjoy them and have people in to enjoy them. We don't have to restrict people,” Barks said. “We did have the quilts and people came in and looked at them, but nothing like today.”

Those who come by the exhibit will have an opportunity to vote on which quilt being exhibited is their favorite. There will be balloting during the exhibit where people can vote on their favorites, with the quilt receiving the most votes being the quilt featured in promotional material for next year’s event. This year, the promotional material featured a so-called “Yo-Yo Quilt,” which won last year’s balloting.

Some of the notable ones Barks pointed out included “The Quilter’s Patch 2020,” a design made by River Country Quilters member Martha Tice. The piece includes flowerpot designs, a house in the middle, and a bevy of flowers to create a flower garden scene on the quilt.

“That one stood out to me,” Barks said. “She does such good work.”

Another notable piece Barks pointed out was one of her own, a piece called “Convex Illusion,” a purple-and-black colored piece with a unique design in the middle intended to create an optical illusion. Barks said the piece was made from a design done by quilt designer Kathleen Andrews.

“Kathleen Andrews came in and had a trunk show, and she showed us how to do them. The year we did it, four of them hung here, it was four of us that finished them. It's amazing, you stand back and the center of the quilt is popping right out at you. That's where you get the illusion,” Barks said.

She said that particular piece was a challenging one to make.

“You had to put it together in a certain way to make it pop, and it was only the second free motion quilting one I had done that was on a machine,” Barks said.

Barks said quilts, especially the ones on display, can take a varying amount of time to create, depending on a number of different factors, the biggest one being time.

“If somebody has the time and wants to sit for a full day, and in a couple weeks' time they might have one done. But if you can only, say, spend an hour here and there, it can take you longer,” Barks said. “The ‘Drunkards Path’ one I made, my mother started it. When she passed away, I took it home and finished it. It took me two years to quilt it, but it was like in the evenings when I was sitting. I might've spent three months doing it, but it took two years to do it.”

Overall, Barks said she hopes people enjoy the exhibit and the quilts that will be offered. The exhibit runs until Tuesday, Dec. 14, and will be open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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