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Cornwall quilts star in Middlebury gallery

The Jackson Gallery at Town Hall Theater starts the New Year off with an exhibition of antique and contemporary quilts entitled, "Quilts, Old and New: Stitching Together." Over two dozen colorful works of art will celebrate quilters of the past and present. A "special guest" among the pieces on exhibit will be the winner of the Governor's Award, Vermont 2009 Quilt of the Year.

Full size quilts, baby quilts, wall hangings, table mats and qui fabric landscapes will provide a wide variety of quilting examples. Included are some pieces that have been lent by local collectors while others have been made by Vermont contemporary quilters. On display will be quilts from the Cornwall-based Jackson collection containing works from the last 150 years; as well as examples of a Civil War era quilt; an Amish quilt; and appliqu d and piece work quilts.

Historically, quilting was a utilitarian way to create bed coverings from left-over fabric scraps. However quilting was also an artistic outlet for farm wives and families on the frontier. In early America, most people lived simply and many family quilts became a source of beauty and a way to preserve memories in an otherwise circumscribed world. Hand-made bed coverings were a great source of pride and many women shared their patterns and sewing secrets and competed with each other for recognition of their quilting skills.

More recently, contemporary quilts have explored bold patterns, new color combinations, and have become more artistic and less utilitarian. Fine contemporary quilts created by local Cornwall artist, Gale Burns, will be highlighted. Some quilts are for exhibition only, others will be for sale.

"Quilts, Old and New" opens with a reception on Friday, Jan. 8, 5:30-7:30 at the Jackson Gallery at Town Hall Theater. The reception is free and open to the public with a cash bar. The exhibit continues through Feb. 28. Regular gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m.

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