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QuiltWeek once again brings textile artists and enthusiasts to Paducah

A QuiltWeek attendee snaps a photo of a quilt they admire.
Lance Dennee
A QuiltWeek attendee snaps a photo of a quilt they admire.

There is still time to join the thousands of quilting buffs for the last day of the American Quilter’s Society annual four-day gathering in Paducah.

Quilters and textile art admirers have flocked to Paducah – nicknamed “Quilt City USA” – for nearly 40 years to enjoy AQS QuiltWeek. This year’s slate of exhibitions, award-winning quilts, classes, and more than 300 different vendor booths will run through Saturday.

AQS Executive Show Director Bonnie Browning said this year has seen more than 700 quilts come to be judged, appraised and appreciated. The quilts are from 45 different states in the U.S. and 14 different countries. Browning said QuiltWeek gives exposure to a historically underrepresented art form.

“Quilters really weren’t displaying their art form,” Browning said. “Back in the early days of this country, when they used and reused all the fabric they could get their hands on, if a woman only had a little piece of red, she made sure that red linen went someplace that led your eye right across that quilt.”

Already, AQS has awarded more than $125,000 in prizes to quilters.The $20,000 “Best of Show” grand prize went to Margaret Solomon Gunn of Maine with her quilt “Sweet Madame Blue.” Other prize winners included quilters from 25 different states and 5 different countries.

“We have some quilt blocks that relate to the drunkard's path and the temperance movement. Sometimes, people put political statements in their quilts. And, sometimes, they're just good traditional designs that everybody would recognize,” Browning said.

On top of exhibits, over 300 vendors arrived with various fabrics, threads and gadgets for executing quilting techniques that both experienced and shiny quilters can appreciate. AQS is also hosting educational events to help teach beginner and advanced techniques with over 30 quilting instructors coming to lead instruction.

“I would encourage anyone who is a quilter to come to the show and look at the quilts with a different eye. Maybe there's technique, they see that they'd like to try and do a close up on a quilt of that,” Browning said. “Or, maybe, it's a color scheme that they really like. It's really easy as a quilter to be intimidated by the quality of the quilt that we see here. But, I think if they just look at it as an eye of ‘what do I get out of this?’ and ‘what can I try in my next quilt?’”

Those interested in having a quilt appraised can also bring it to the convention and do so. Browning said this is useful for families who may have had a quilt passed down for generations and may want it dated or appraised.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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