When it comes to quilting, Stef Hinton tells people she's just a mechanic. But granddaughters Megan and Katie, 15, are artists.
"I know the ins-and-outs, but the art that's in them is just incredible," Stef Hinton says. "People look at what they've done and they can't believe that two little girls did it, but they did!"
Although young people may not spring to mind first when you think of quilting, about half of all quilters at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show are between the ages of 24 and 44, according to an economic impact study cited by Ann Richardson, quilt show event coordinator.
In recognition of this trend, the Sisters Quilt Show, which takes place every summer and attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year, has added a "Next Generation" show that offers the opportunity for roughly 10-12 quilters under 18 to display their work to the public.
Go See It!
Next Generation of Quilting Exhibit
- Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, downtown Sisters, Oregon
- Saturday, July 15, 2012, 9:30 am - 5 pm
- Visit website
"The purpose of the Next Generation portion of the show is to introduce not only kids but their families to the art of quilting," says Richardson. "There may be a generation, in some cases, that was skipped in that learning process — and by introducing the kids we're also introducing their families to a pretty traditional art form that's turned into a true contemporary art, as well."
Case in point: Mindy Hampton and her 7-year-old daughter Trinity. "Trinity started quilting before I did," says Hampton. "I actually have only been quilting about a year and a half." Since then, Hampton and her daughters have joined Eugene's Emerald Valley Quilters Guild, which includes just four junior members, two of whom are her daughters.
While today's quilters still adhere to the age-old tradition of binding pieces of fabric, the product is a piece of art that long ago shed a functional value as bed coverings. For Next Generation quilters, the interest lies in the creative arts of quilting.
"It used to be people made quilts because they needed the blankets. I see it more going towards wall-hangings and people designing basically art but using fabric as their medium," says Hampton.
Next Generation participants Jaiden and Trinity Reeves, Katie and Megan Hinton, and Kayla Loudermilk all display their quilts on walls.
The art of quilting may have evolved since its earliest roots as a necessary chore, but one aspect of its history remains unchanged. Despite the convenience of today's lightning-fast communication and speedy travel, quilting remains a vehicle for forging relationships.
"I think it has brought all of us together closer," says Hampton. "Both the girls and myself with my mom and her sister, who is a brand-new quilter, it's really done a lot to bring all of us together. I've learned a lot about their personalities watching them make the quilts. Jayden likes to do big quilts with lots of panels while Trinity is more of, 'I like little pieces and I like to make pretty things out of them.' "
"The people you get to work with on the quilt show — they're all just fantastic people. You never hear a cross word or frustration or anything," says Linda Brunanchon, who has been quilting for 15 years and is a mentor for 13-year-old Kayla Loudermilk. The duo began quilting together after Brunanchon served as a reading mentor for Kayla.
"I never had any children and so I'm old enough to be her great grandmother," says Brunanchon. "It's just been very fulfilling for me — probably more for me than for Kayla."
- Art Quilter Jean Wells Keenan Oregon Art Beat