Quilts showcased

Published 6:20 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

To borrow from Trey Amos, “The Art of the Natural” finally arrived at the Virginia Quilt Museum in the form of 177 small quilts.

The collection will now receive visitors in Harrisonburg through Sept. 10.

These are not your grandmother’s quilts — they are “art quilts,” an art form born of the 1960s return to the earth and old ways, when people realized a newfound respect for a craftsman’s creative skills.

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These 177 art quilts are collectively known as “Inspired by the National Parks.” “Inspired” here does not mean a decorated copy. Nor are art quilts created from a pattern. They are fiber art built upon an original experience, idea or imagery, using quilting techniques.

The collection developed from a 2014 challenge put out to quilters by Donna DeSoto, a member of the Fairfax Chapter of Quilters Unlimited. Enjoying success from her previous “Inspired by the Beatles” challenge, she asked participants to select a national park and make a quilt to honor its flora, fauna or landscape.

She said the response exceeded her hopes and dreams. The resulting exhibit debuted at the Houston International Quilt Festival in Fall 2015 and has shown at a few venues since. The quilts traveled safely here from Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area at Coulee Dam, Wash., where they had spent the July 4 weekend on display.