THE Quilt Trails program got its start in Ohio when Donna Sue Groves put a block on her barn to honor her mother. From that simple act, the program has spread to 30 states and Canada.
Over the years, other states developed their own quilt trails. By 2008, Toe River Arts Council in Burnsville had received funding from Handmade in America to start a quilt trail, but there was no one to manage it. As a quilter, Barbara Webster spoke up.
The Websters created a board of directors that researched the optimum materials for long-lasting construction, volunteered to work and to raise additional funds. The group enlisted help from schools, businesses and individuals in the community to bring the project to fruition.
When the Websters moved from NC to Tennessee, sisters Carole and June Pearson took over the production of the quilt blocks.
Carole Pearson with a guitar barn quilt in front of One of a Kind Art Gallery. Photo by Carole Pearson.
In July of 2019 the Quilt Trails of Western NC became a program of the Haywood County Arts Council and the tradition of handcrafting exterior quilt blocks is now lead by a dedicated group of volunteers in Waynesville, NC, who meet weekly to hand paint these works of art.
This effort would not be possible without the generosity of Folkmoot, which provides studio space for the quilt block operation. HCAC also thanks Janet Steinke, who volunteers her time to run the program from start to finish.
HCAC plans to work with the many WNC counties that participate in the Quilt Trails Program to improve and update brochures and books, mapping, overall program reach, and to create limited edition merchandise for quilt block trail lovers.
Be part of the future program by volunteering, ordering a quilt block, shopping for merchandise.