Madison Life and Times Summer 2016 - Page 6

Born to Quilt Members of Redbud Guild serve community, learn from one another STORY BY KELLY DICKEY PHOTOS BY JOHN P. CLEARY T hinking back to when she first learned to quilt conjures Melanie Clawson’s memories of her grandmother. “It’s something that relates back to my childhood,” she said. “They’re good memories. I sat on her lap at her sewing machine.” It’s been about 60 years since Clawson first learned the artistry of quilting. Through the camaraderie of the Redbud Quilt Guild, the Anderson resident is still learning to improve her craft. Since its inception in the 1980s, guild member Susan Freeman said, the organization has become the oldest – and with about 100 members, the largest – quilt guild in Madison County. “A guild is different from a club or a league, in that a guild is set up to teach and learn,” Freeman said. “And that’s exactly what we do.” Each month, members gather to chat, show and talk about their work and watch a demonstration of a new craft or technique. Members are then encouraged to put the lesson into practice when they return home. Whoever creates the most quilted items from the lessons by the end of the year wins a prize. The guild also creates for members of the community in need. They’ve made Quilts of Valor to donate to service men and women from Madison County as a piece of comfort and love from home, and they’ve crafted sleeves that cover medical tubes for patients at Community Hospital Anderson. Lately members of the guild have been quilting baby blankets for newborns at Riley Hospital for 6 MADISON Sherry McConnell gives a demonstration on the making of the “project of the month,” a quilted bag with several pockets, during the Redbud Quilt Guild’s March meeting. It’s something that relates back to my childhood. They’re good memories. I sat on her lap at her sewing machine.” Susan Freeman Children at IU Health. “So whatever the need is, we get together on days other than our meeting days, sew and come up with the projects,” Freeman said. “And if other people or organizations find that somebody needs something, we’ll certainly look into helping them out.” More than 100 quilts created by guild members will be displayed in the group’s biennial quilt show, May 20 and 21 at the Anderson Center for the Arts, 32 W. 10th St. This year’s theme – “My Indiana Home” – coincides with the state’s bicentennial. For the challenge quilt, contestants picked something about Indiana to incorporate into their quilts. The public will have a chance at the quilt show to vote for their favorite. Freeman said she’s hopeful that the Indiana Barn Society’s 200th anniversary Indiana quilt will arrive in Madison County in time for the quilt show. Two Redbud members applied to have their pieces included in the barn society’s quilt, which will be in the shape of Indiana and depict the state’s 92 counties. Once it’s complete, the quilt will be taken on a statewide tour. “We feel really confident we’re going to get it (the Barn Society quilt) for the quilt show,” Freeman said. The culture around quilts has changed considerably during Indiana’s 200 years. Creating quilts used to be a necessity; now it’s a hobby. Clawson passed many of her grandmother’s quilting lessons to Freeman and four other women. They’re all more experienced now, but people who have been quilting for decades aren’t the only ones who are part of the guild. Beginners and experts alike are members – and they help one another learn. ❚