Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 41

JOE TENNIS

Renee (left) and Syndi Brooks pose with an Amish Scrap Star. The artisans operate a shop at West
Jefferson, North Carolina.

you wanted it duplicated graphically and put on aluminum," Brooks
says, "you're talking about $396 to
put on a 4-by-4."
Why the popularity of quilts and
quilt squares?
"I think the mountains, because
they are so cold, I think there's a
really rich tradition," Syndi Brooks
says. "And I think mountain people
are just survivors. They save every
piece of fabric and they're like, 'How
can I use this again?'"
Following a trail of barns-with
quilt squares-can tell even more of
a story. "It's a celebration of joining
communities together-one quilt
joining another quilt," Syndi Brooks
says.
Parron knows even more. The
author travels full-time with her
husband in an RV, going across the
country, speaking on barn quilts and
teaching art. In North Carolina's
mountains, Parron has also spent

much time studying the barn quilts
of Yancey County and Burnsville to
work on her first book, 2012's "Barn
Quilts and the American Quilt Trail
Movement."
North Carolina's barn quilt
squares fit into the landscape naturally, Parron insists.
"Those mountains are just so
beautiful. And you've got all the
wonderful drives up through there.
So I think the barn quilts just kind
of added to what's already there.
Whereas, in some places, the barn
quilts kind of create a destination."
That's what happened in Highland
County, Virginia. "It's an area that
you might not normally visit," says
Parron, 56, a former longtime resident of Atlanta, Georgia. "One of
the things about quilt trails is people
try to draw people into their area.
A quilt trail kind of gives people a
reason to visit the rest of the year.

And Highland County? We loved it
there. Gosh, it's beautiful."
Much of Highland County's
beauty comes from three-dozen
barn quilts linked on a tour. "They
were created by all local people,
local artisans," says Dorothy Stephenson, the executive director of
the Highland County Chamber of
Commerce.
Now, with more squares being
affixed to more barns, Stephenson
says, "We're actually toying with
the notion of making a second
barn-quilt trail. There are over 50 in
the county."
Artist Margie Boesch painted
many of the quilt squares in Highland County. And that's what visitors
want to see-the squares, Stephenson says. "The barns are an added
[aspect], though, because some of the
barns are really beautiful. And some
of the barn quilts are actually on
houses or garages or out-buildings. So
they're not specific to barns."
Interest grows just like the bluegrass.
"It's really kind of all the rage
at the moment," Stephenson says.
"And we seem to be one of the only
locations in our area that has a barn
quilt tour. It's actually one of our
main attractions. You follow the
map to get there, and then you've
got this pot of gold waiting for you."
And, oh, what a golden show
these mountains make.
"It's just getting out and seeing
that art with a background of nature," Stephenson says. "You've got
these vivid colors in the barn quilt
on the side of a white barn with a
green roof. And then you've got a
scene of our iconic bluegrass valley
behind it. It's pretty much art and
nature all in the same view."
Parron also traveled to see quilt
squares in West Virginia's Monroe
County. "And they really tried to
embrace their history a lot," she
says. "One of their barn quilts is
a copy of a quilt that was quilted
about 100 years ago, and it was a
very significant quilt that they had
found."
Traveling on, West Virginia reNovember/December 2016 41



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016

Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 22
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover3
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