Art Center showcases art of quilting, textile

Published 7:46 pm Thursday, August 1, 2019

After the gallery manager said the first show several years ago brought forth requests for a repeat, The Albert Lea Art Center will once again feature quilts and textile work.

Quilts for the show were supplied by the Calico Hutch quilt shop in Hayward, while wool applique pieces came from Granny’s Legacy Patterns in Albert Lea, a company that sells patterns, wool kits and hand-dyed wool. The previous show featured only Calico Hutch, gallery manager Tom Mullen said.

In addition to new artists, the show also includes all different pieces from the Calico Hutch.

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“People like to see what’s in vogue,” Mullen said.

Calico Hutch employee Julie Sorensen said quilts shown in the gallery include some store samples of Calico Hutch kits or block-of-the-month club patterns. Others are personal projects completed by store employees such as Sorensen herself.

She said she does consider quilting to be an art form.

“It’s just like painting with fabrics,” Sorensen said.

Kim Zenk, Katie Hebblewhite and Tim Zenk also said they consider their work art.

But Hebblewhite said each of them is an artist in a different way; Tim Zenk dies the wool they use for their work, Hebblewhite writes the pattern and Kim Zenk does the stitchwork. That stitching adds detail and dimension, Hebblewhite said, and pattern-writing is a digital art of its own.

Without all three, Kim Zenk said, the pieces couldn’t come together as one.

“It gives a wider latitude of artwork,” Mullen said of having Granny’s Legacy in the show.

Sorensen said she and Calico Hutch owner Carolyn Matson chose quilts in an effort to provide a variety of different styles, from modern to traditional. Most of them are quilted on a long-arm quilting machine, Sorensen said.

Her quilts tend toward what she refers to as “primitive” but expresses itself in deep earthy tones and woven fabrics. She pointed out her “Bird Quilt,” rich in browns and bluish-grays. The pattern’s intended colors were pink and turquoise.

Two of her quilts in the show feature birds — specifically, crows.

“They’re super intelligent,” Sorensen said. “They’ve gotten a bad rap.”

The show also features flannel and batik fabrics as well as quilts made from leftover scraps. Several of the quilts also feature fabrics from previous years’ Quilt Minnesota, a state-wide quilt shop hop that includes an exclusive line of fabric produced yearly. This year’s Quilt Minnesota begins Friday.

“I like the creative aspect of it,” Sorensen said of quilting.

She said she likes to look at a pattern and think about how she would rather do it in different ways or colors. Everybody has their own taste.

“We try to offer something for everyone at the store,” she said.

She said she hopes the show inspires people to create that next family heirloom that quilts often can be.

The Quilting Show open house is from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at The Albert Lea Art Center, 101 S. Broadway Ave.

If you go

What: The Quilting Show open house

When: 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Albert Lea Art Center, 101 S. Broadway Ave.

Cost: Free


About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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