Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Barn quilts" ...

Marlene Terry

"Barn quilts" ...

I think I have an old soul.

That's why the sight of old homes, barns and some older people make me happy and get me thinking about the olden days and things that happened back then.

The best part is I'm not alone in those feelings.

Before the column that I was writing for a local newspaper came to an end, I and several of my readers were on a search to find and photograph old barns.  You know the type. Those that you pass by every day and never even notice. Those that have obviously given in to gravity and are leaning (some very precariously) but somehow continue to hang on. There are also those of such unusual design that it gives you a headache trying to find out not only how old they are and who built them, but also what purpose they served.

Really hadn't thought about barns for awhile and then a letter from sweet Barbara Curtis arrived.
Barbara's interest in old barns was rekindled recently while she was on a visit in Iowa. There she became privy to an article about "barn quilts" in the area and also those in nearby states.
The "barn quilts" referred to here aren't soft and cuddly comforters we think of with the mention of the word, "quilt." They are actual old barns used to display a unique type of folk art that has taken off, so to speak, throughout the country and in my mind, is Americana at its best. 
The process includes an artisan who is willing to spend hours and hours painting a large (usually at least a six-foot square) piece of metal, with an actual quilt block design. And after the design in transferred to the metal and completed, it is then attached to the outside of an old area barn.

... The result? Stunning!

The most wonderful news is the "barn quilt" movement isn't by any stretch of the imagination indigenous to the Midwest or any other part of the country for that matter.

In fact I've now heard about similar displays in Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Utah, and Montana just to name a few. And I have seen myself, many of those that are located near where I live in Idaho.

Guess it's time for me to get out my camera and go looking again. And if you've seen or see anything similar, please share a photo and a little information and we'll chart the American Quilt Barn trail together... one block at a time! 

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at