Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 16

Stitching memories into
Some pieces of fabric, yards and yards of thread, a
few specialized shops, numerous guilds, classes, workshops and craft shows. When you add it all up, "quilting
is an amazing industry in Georgia, and it's growing," says
Marie Atkinson, vice president of the 137-member
Pieceful Hearts Quilters Guild in the Augusta area.
Quilts once were constructed of hand-pieced scraps
and feed sacks. These centuries-old crafts had a practical
purpose: to keep families warm. Today's quilts are often
machine-made with carefully selected fabric and embellishments and are meant to adorn walls as well as beds.
Atkinson is a fourth-generation quilter. She started in
1997, when her mother retired and took up the hobby.
"Going to classes, workshops and retreats together
became a big part of our lives," she says. Guild meetings
helped them both improve their craft. "The importance
of a guild is what we learn from one another. You can
find help online these days, but one-on-one is always
better."
Georgia has guilds scattered all over the state [see
quiltguilds.com/georgia.htm]. Women (and some men)
meet in homes, churches and civic centers to ply their
needles or sewing machines. Quilters range from 8 to
90-plus years old, and the quilts they make are as varied
as their reasons for making them.
Bebe Smith, a member of the Lavender Mountain
Quilt Guild in Rome, started sewing when she was 15.
"My grandfather told me that if I'd learn to make my
own clothes, he'd pay for the material. I've been sewing
ever since," Smith says.
When she moved to Rome in 1995 and heard of the
local guild, she joined. It was a great way to meet
people.
"Quilting is therapy, and it is fun. While we sew, we
talk about everything," Smith says.
She's made many traditional patterns, like Drunkard's Path, but has a favorite she calls "First and Last."
"It was the last quilt my mother worked on and the
first one I finished," Smith says.
Her guild makes quilts for hospice at Floyd Medical
Center and doll-sized quilts to go with dolls given to
children in need. For the last two summers, guild
members have been teaching young children to sew at
the Sara Hightower Regional Library in Rome.
"We get about 20 to 25 kids every Thursday and
teach them basic sewing by doing simple projects. The

16

BY LAURA RAINES

SAMANTHA ATKINSON / @ARTSTUDIOCOLLECTIVE

S

Quilting is thriving in Georgia

art

Imperial Blooms, made by quilter Ille Waters, won Judges'
Choice at the 2017 Pieceful Hearts Quilters Guild Show in
November. More than 200 quilts were entered in the show.

guild furnishes the supplies and know-how," says Anne
Reilly, past president of the Lavender Mountain Quilt
Guild.
Reilly began quilting years ago when she found quilt
squares made by both of her grandmothers at her parents'
home.
"Quilting is always changing, but there are still
people out there who want to create something with their
hands," Reilly says. "We have a quilt show at the library
every March, and that keeps us visible."
"My husband used to say that he had to get up
and move sometimes, or I'd quilt him down," jokes Sally
Smothers, a member of the Silver Comet Stitchers Quilt
Guild in Dallas. She's been quilting for more than
30 years.
"I find that love of quilting cuts across all ages and
backgrounds," she says. "My mother and grandmother
both quilted for practical reasons, but now it's considered
more of an art form. I've seen a lot of changes."
When she started, she used muslin for backing to
show off the hand stitches.
"Younger people thought that looked cheap, so we
often use colored fabric on the back now," she says.

More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

GEORGIA MAGAZINE


http://www.quiltguilds.com/georgia.htm http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - January 2018

Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 3
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 5
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 6
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 7
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 8
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 9
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 10
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 11
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 12
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 13
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 14
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 15
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 16
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 17
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 18
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 19
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 20
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 21
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 22
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 23
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 24
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 25
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26C
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26D
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 27
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 28
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 29
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 30
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 31
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 32
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 33
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 34
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 35
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 36
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 37
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 38
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 38A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 38B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 39
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 40
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 41
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 42
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 43
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 44
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 45
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 46
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 47
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 48
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 48A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 48B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 49
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 50
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 50A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 50B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover4
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