Archive for the ‘Upstate SC Visual Arts’ Category

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in SC is Always Expanding

Thursday, April 12th, 2012


The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail is always expanding and we’ll always try to keep you up on these developments as best we can. Sometimes we just receive a photo and a little info while other times we receive a photo or two and some details about the quilt, its sponsor and the location where it can be found. For the latest and most updated info about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, visit (

Here’s what we’ve heard lately.

A new quilt square or quilt block, (#71) Box Square, can be found at Comfort Keepers, 402 E. Greenville Street in Anderson, SC (GPS N34° 30.7061′, W082° 38.8874′). The block is sponsored by Melisa Morris Gleen and features the design by quilter Cassie Colfelter Morris.


The late Cassie Colfelter-Morris made the original cloth quilt, Box Square. Mrs. Morris was the grandmother of Melisa Morris Glenn and the quilt was made in 1981 to honor her graduation from high school. Cassie learned to quilt from her mother and grandmother.

Lucky Acre Farms has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail with the addition of a quilt called (#74) Grandmother’s Quilt mounted on the barn of Gloria and Joe Williams, owners of the farm. Located at 1024 Milford Road in Townville, SC, the Williams’ raise alpacas primarily, but the farm is also home to pygmy goats, a peacock couple, dogs, cats, donkeys, a horse and two hives of honey bees.


According to Mrs. Williams, “This is a quilt that I made for my mother. After she died, it came back to me. My grandmother had taught me to quilt, crochet and sew. My grandparents raised me on a small farm in Upstate New York. We had very little money, grew most of our food and used everything we could from the farm. At that time, animal feed came in calico feed sacks which we used for making clothing and quilts.”

Grandmother’s Quilt is a pleasant two-block star design and is listed in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns as one found in book #116 of the Old Chelsea Station Needlework Series, a syndicated service available since the 1930s to the present. It may well have been a pattern printed elsewhere featuring the two-block combination. It works because they both have the same drafting category (a four patch).

The Williams’ bought 28 acres in 1994 on what was described as an “old homestead” in the local paper.  They went to the Townville post office for directions and before they knew it, they were the proud owners of Lucky Acres Farm. They lived in their camper for two years, as Joe demolished the old house on the property and built a log cabin. In 2001, they joined the AOBA (Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association), began to create pastures suitable for alpacas, built a small barn, and installed fencing. In 2003, they purchased their first alpacas, 3 pregnant girls, 1 herd sire and 1 gelding.

Today, Lucky Acre Farms is open to the public four weekends – the first weekends in May and December as part of the Heritage Corridor Farmer’s Association tour; the first weekend in June as part of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and the last weekend in September as part of the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association Open Farm Days. The gift shop at Lucky Acres offers a wide selection of articles made from alpaca fiber – scarves, sweaters and blankets knitted or crocheted by Gloria, as well as bears, dolls and other toys. Check their website for more information at (

“We have to carry on the tradition of small family farming. It is our belief that anything we can teach our young people about the traditional ways is of highest importance.  In hard times we can rely on the farmer to sustain us, growing our own food and making our clothing.  If the knowledge of how to be self-reliant were lost, it would be a great disrespect of our ancestry.”

The City of Easley has two new quilts as part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The home of Robert and Betty Chrismer, located at 1034 Anderson Highway, is the site of a replica of a Tulip quilt originally made by his grandmother, Mary Rider Spalding in 1885. The daughter of William and Mary Ann Rider, she was born in 1858 in Littlestown, PA. She married James D. Spalding, a farmer and businessman in 1885. Mrs. Spalding died in 1894 at the age of 36, leaving behind her husband of 9 years and four young children.

Mrs. Chrismer’s father, Roy Reeves of Reeves’ Builders, built the Chrismer home in 1962. Mrs. Chrismer’s grandfather, Charles Jefferson Hendricks, originally acquired the land in 1906. Mr. Hendricks was a cotton farmer and lived on this land until his death in 1956. Three Chrismer children were reared here. The Tulip quilt is mounted on a woodworking shop built by Mr. Chrismer and his sons in 1981. He is a retired engineer and furniture maker in his spare time.


This particular quilt block may be referred to as a (#78) “tulip quilt”. In the mid-19th century, quiltmakers created countless variations of appliquéd floral designs, typically favoring a color scheme of red and green. The inspiration quilt combines two popular elements – a modified fleur de lis in the center with four outstretched tulips – in a familiar format. The majority of these early quilt patterns did not have distinct names; the maker of this quilt probably called it her “Tulip quilt.”

The Chrismer’s daughter, Elizabeth Hitchcock, lives with her husband, Ken, across the road in the original family home built by Mr. Hendricks. The farm was recently named a ‘South Carolina Century Farm’ and was home to four consecutive generations of the Hendricks family.


Their quilt block is an (#77) Oak Leaf pattern mounted on an old smokehouse built by Charles Hendricks that was used throughout the 20th century to cure meat. The smokehouse is now a garden shed used by Ken and Elizabeth to store garden tools and equipment. Elizabeth is a Master Gardener and enjoys landscaping as a hobby.

The quilt runner was designed and crafted in 2011 by Virginia (Jennie) Grobusky of Walhalla, SC, and is used on a desk handmade by Elizabeth’s father, Robert Chrismer. The oak leaf pattern was chosen to symbolize family heritage.


The Oak Leaf pattern, in many variations, was popular throughout the second half of the 19th century. Some early examples featured four small red and green acorns tucked among the four leaves. Early Oak Leaf quilts typically contrasted red and green; later examples made use of other color combinations.

The offices of Gloria and David Arnold, located at 10612 Clemson Blvd., Seneca, SC, joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. As they explained, “We decided that we wanted to be a part of the quilt trail and thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase the quilting skills of our friend and former neighbor Lori Kuba by having one of her quilt blocks mounted on our office building. The pattern we chose is from a wall hanging she gave us after we moved into our home.”


The quilt, titled (#73) Blue Horizon, was originally designed and created by Mrs. Kuba, who took up quilting after she and her husband moved to this area in 1991. She said she’d been reading about quilt groups in the area and decided to give it a try. She attended several meetings finally joining the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild here in Seneca. One of her favorite things has been helping to establish the Guild’s “Day Bees,” or free classes held on the third Tuesday of each month.

Mrs. Kuba makes all kinds of quilts, but prefers to do hand appliqué and hand quilting to machine work. Blue Horizon came as a result of a class she took on Bargello quilting from Marge Edie, a well-known local quilter and author. Bargello takes its name from the Bargello Palace in Florence, Italy, where there is a collection of tapestries employing this technique. Bargello, or flame point, gives the impression of flames of color moving up or down. It can be done with paint, in needlepoint, or in quilting. The construction technique of bargello quilting is different as well, in that strips of fabric are laid down onto the backing and batting rather than making a top and then attaching it to the backing.

Mrs. Kuba’s advice to beginners is simple. “Find your own way. This area of the Upstate is home to some of the most marvelous quilters – people who enter shows and win awards. It’s good to expose yourself to such talent.”

Gloria, David and Corey Arnold are the owners of The Arnold Corporation (, building custom homes and emphasizing the need for a successful relationship between homeowner and contractor. Their work is accomplished with a Lump Sum Contract and a specific completion time.


Chattooga Belle Farm has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Two quilts have been mounted at this mountain resort vineyard, owned by Edward and Kitty Land. The first features geometric patchwork patterns that play with our perceptions. The predominant round ‘flowers’ in its design emerge at the intersection of eight triangles, each of which has contrasting petals on the two acute corners.  This pattern is called (#75) Hearts and Gizzards, a 19th century name for a 19th century pattern. The Ladies Art Company published under this name in the 1890s. Coats and Clark published it in a pattern booklet in the 1940s as Hearts and Flowers. Other 20th century companies published it under other names such as Snowball, Windmill, Lover’s Knot, and Pierrot’s Pom Pom.


The second quilt (#76) Hearts and Stars is a modern design that combined simple elements in a novel manner to create an unusual and effective design. Each block features, alternately, a heart or a chubby star. The blocks are set together with “sashing” pieced of squares and triangles. Careful placement of the light, dark, and medium shades of the fabrics creates the image of interlocking stars.

The original quilter is Jean LaFreniere, Mrs. Land’s mother. She quilted these quilts for her granddaughter, Taylor, when she was born in 2000. Mrs. LaFreniere began quilting when she was 45 years old. As the mother of four girls ranging in age from 12 to 27 years old, she picked up quilting as a hobby for the first time in her life. Over the next nine years, she made a full-sized quilt, completely stitched by hand for each of her daughters. With the assistance of a sewing machine, she continued to make quilts for her grandchildren and more for her daughters. She quilted for 25 years, and loved it immensely.

Chattooga Belle Farm is located at 454 Damascus Church Road, in Long Creek, SC. For information on the farm, call 864/647-9768, or go to (

When Anderson County built its Main Library in downtown Anderson, SC, at 300 North McDuffie Street, one of the architectural decisions was to place a compass-rose mosaic in the middle of the floor in the main lobby. The compass theme was then used in a variety of forms on signs and shelving throughout the building. It is said to illustrate the library system, with the 8 points representing the branch libraries and reaching out from the center circle, or Main Library. Since its simplicity is a memorable image for people to associate with the library, the compass was eventually chosen as the library system’s logo.


The Main Library has been host to the Anderson Prickly Fingers Quilt Guild’s meetings for many years. To honor that long-standing relationship and to celebrate National Library week, the Guild and one of its members, Diane Schonauer and husband David, decided to co-sponsor a quilt block for the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Diane fashioned her mini quilt after the (#79) Compass Rose mosaic. Her quilt was made in 2011 as an appliqué that is top-stitched using monofilament thread. The complexity of this pattern appealed to skilled quilt makers of the mid-1800s. The radiating design has appeared in many variations under such names as Compass Rose, Chips and Whetstones, Sunburst and The Sunflower. These patterns require the maker to measure, cut, and sew accurately, so that the points are sharp and all the pieces lie flat without bunching or rippling.


Diane learned to sew from her sister Linda. Their mother had a Singer sewing machine and they used it first to make doll clothes, then eventually clothing. She was exposed to quilting at a young age with her mother’s Cathedral Windows, Yo-yos, and Log Cabin blocks. She had always admired them—as a young adult, she took a quilting class at Katie’s Calico Corner, a local fabric shop. Twenty years later, her local high school offered evening classes on quilting—she signed up for the class and has not stopped since.

The quilt block is mounted on the west side of the Anderson County Main Library that faces McDuffie Street.
For more information about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, click on (

The Latest News From the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011


The good folks behind the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail has been very busy adding new quilt squares to buildings in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Here’s the info.

#65 The Cotton Boll Quilt


The history of the textile industry in Walhalla, SC, is the subject of the latest addition to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Mrs. Mary Lou Cushman of Walhalla has sponsored a quilt block called The Cotton Boll Quilt to honor her parents, Rachel Turner McGuffin and John Q. McGuffin, both of whom worked in the Walhalla textile mills. It is mounted on her home at 301 Jaynes Street in the Mill Village. The pattern was originally quilted by Dixie Haywood, noted teacher, quilter and writer of books about quilting. “This is a traditional Carolina block made in the late 19th century. It’s usually made on a white background with Flying Geese sashing, but I changed that part of the design with a yellow background to evoke a hot summer field. That’s why I call my version, ‘Hot Cotton!’”

During the late 1800s and throughout the 20th century, the textile industry played a significant role in shaping the lives of Walhalla residents and the culture of Upstate South Carolina. Walhalla had two main textile mills in operation. Both mills were located along Walhalla’s Blue Ridge Railroad line, one on the edge of town near West Union along Earle Street and the other in the heart of town on South John Street. These mills went by numerous names as company ownership changed frequently. The mill on the edge of town, which has since been torn down, was known primarily as the Kenneth Mill. The mill in the heart of town is known best as Chicopee Mill or Avondale Mill. It is no longer in operation and is currently for sale. Mill companies were very paternalistic and built company towns for employees to live in around the manufacturing facility. These “mill hills” had dozens of houses all built in the typical “salt box” style, company stores, post offices, and even schools. The mill hills were very closely knit communities and many formed baseball teams that played against each other recreationally. Work in the factories was reliable and many farming families from the surrounding mountain communities moved to Walhalla for work in the mills. Toward the end of the 20th century textile manufacturing slowed in Walhalla and the Upstate as work began being outsourced until all textile production stopped by the late 1990s.

One of Mrs. Cushman’s strongest memories is of living in the Mill Village, where her mother’s friends would gather in their home to work on a quilt. Her mother’s quilt frame, which normally hung suspended from the ceiling, was lowered to lap level. While the women gathered around the frame, little Mary Lou would hide out under the frame in her own secret, dark hide-away listening to all the Village gossip. Always in the background were the sounds of the textile mill. When her father came home, the cotton mill smell would be clinging to him.

The house where Mary Lou lives and where the quilt block is displayed is 100 years old and original to the Mill Village. She chose the cotton boll pattern to honor her parents, the other textile workers and the history of the textile industry in Oconee County. Walhalla was a thriving, bustling town, due to the textile mill and the men and women who worked tirelessly to produce quality American goods. In turn, the textile industry allowed many to care for their families and to improve the quality of life for all. It is her hope that when people see the cotton boll quilt block, they will be reminded of what was an important and vital part of the history of South Carolina.

Dixie Haywood has been quilting professionally since the early 1970′s, but made a quilt for her first child in 1955 – a “totally impractical small satin whole cloth with pink on one side and blue on the other.  It became a ‘cozy’ for all three children and accompanied my daughter to college. It’s now in her family archives.”

Haywood says she is self-taught, having worked with fabric most of her life. Her mother had many talents – painting, needlework, lace making, while Dixie stuck with sewing and knitting. She loves quilting for the excitement of design, the satisfaction of mundane construction and the meditative quality of hand quilting. She’s written eight books, six with Jane Hall of Raleigh, NC, all of which explore and expand the technique of foundation piecing. “I’m in no-man’s (woman’s??) land between the traditional quilter and the art quilter, but I do innovative versions of tradition. I get a lot of comments about my use of color, and that’s the hardest part of it. Right now I’m rethinking a color group that just isn’t working – an old story….”

Haywood claims the ‘Blunder Technique’ powered her quilting career – “I just did what I was interested in and let the chips fall where they may.”

#63 Fenced in Dahlia Quilt


The Fair Play Presbyterian Church joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in October 2011 with the addition of a “Fenced in Dahlia” quilt block made by church member Ola Coombs, sponsored by the Mountain Lakes Region of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor. Designs composed of a single flower with multiple petals are some of the most recognizable quilt patterns of the 20th century. Quiltmakers find numerous ways to combine colors and printed fabrics in ways that enhance the patchwork, including adding a patchwork “fence” as a border for this Dahlia pattern.

According to Mrs. Coombs, “My sewing life began over 75 years ago.  I made my first quilt at the age of seven. Fabric, scissors, needles, thimbles and thread have always been a part of my life. My mother would invite friends who quilted like she did – she was known for her tiny stitches and high quality quilts. Flour sacks and sugar sacks were used to make bed linens and covers in our home. Mother would find 3 cents and use it to buy a package of dye to make the sacks a little more colorful. Red and blue dye cost 5 cents, so we had to settle for an ugly brown or green. I still have one of those early quilts and I treasure it.”

“My love for fabric, patterns and quilts has always been a part of me,” adds Coombs. “Natural colors remind me of God’s embroidered beauty, and the Dahlia is probably my favorite flower. The rich, velvety blend of color in the petals of the dahlia reminds me of today’s Batik fabric.  My planning ideas went on a nature trip, and I designed the Fenced in Dahlia block for a queen-sized quilt.

Fair Play Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 108th year. Early in its history, a huge storm blew the church off its foundation. Within a very short time, members were out with horses and mules, lifting the building back on its feet and it’s been serving the community of Fair Play ever since. The Church is small but very involved in the community. There have been, and continue to be, many community outreach programs. Ola Coombs, Music Director, created an annual Christmas program for the Church and community which has drawn hundreds of visitors from every part of Oconee and Anderson counties while providing an evening that is entertaining but also uplifting and spiritual. This little Church continues to have a huge impact on the lives of people in the area. This block will have a temporary home at the entrance of the new nature trail and its permanent location will be on the activity shelter once completed. The church is located at 201 Fair Play Church Road in Fair Play, SC.

#63 Par 3 Quilt


The Blue Ridge Golf Center in Walhalla recently became a part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail with the addition of a quilt block. Designed and sponsored by Jenny Grobusky, the quilt she calls “Par 3” is in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph T. Grobusky who bought the land on Hwy. 28 in 1922. Mr. Grobusky was a farmer and carpenter by trade and served in the Spanish-American War in Cuba in 1898. The property was first used for farming wheat and cotton. Mrs. Grobusky used her skills as a seamstress to create many quilts to warm her large family. As Jennie tells it, “I don’t think that the Joseph Grobuskys knew anything but hard work on the farm, children and their religion. I only knew Mrs. Grobusky, who was a wonderful mother-in-law. She loved her children and grandchildren.”

Robert Grobusky, a grandson, who now owns the land, grew Christmas trees for many years before transforming the entire farm into a 10-hole par-3 golf course. Except for renovating a couple of rooms to accommodate the present day pro shop, the house remains much the same as it has been for the past 80 years. There are still pieces of furniture in the pro shop that were made by Joseph Grobusky. The original barn was torn down to make way for a driving range. The barn where the quilt block is mounted houses machinery for the golf course. The original quilt comes from a wall hanging created and quilted by Jennie Grobusky and hangs in the Pro Shop.

Blue Ridge Golf Center has been a source of enjoyment to golfers in Oconee County and the surrounding areas. It is also home to Blue Ridge Junior Golf, a learning program for the county’s 5th grade students.

Jenny Grobusky is well known in the Upstate for her needlework skills. She was a teacher of sewing, quilting and helping others learn these skills and was the first recipient of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail’s Quilter of the Year award in 2009.

#66 Storm at Sea Quilt


Old St. John’s Meeting House in Walhalla has received a quilt block and is now a part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The church began serving parishioners of the Episcopal Church in 1889, having been constructed in the Rural Gothic architectural style by ‘master builder’ John Kaufmann. The founder and first president of the American Institute of Architects, Richard Upjohn, introduced Gothic Revival to the United States. His book, “Rural Architecture” (1852) provided patterns for countless buildings throughout the country.  Deconsecrated in 1957, Jack Kelley moved the church at his own expense from Short Street to North Pine Street in 1982. The building was moved once again to 301 N. Catherine Street, near the Walhalla City Park, Kaufmann Square, in March 2009.

Sponsored through a grant given to Upstate Heritage Quit Trail, by The Mountain Lakes Region of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, the quilt pattern is called Storm at Sea and was originally quilted by Alberta Ramey Bowers (1926 – 2007), a native of Oconee County, for her oldest son, James. She made many quilts over the years as fundraisers for the Walhalla Civic Auditorium and the Meeting House. She had made quilts for each of her children and grandchildren, and became interested in the fate of the little church after it was vandalized at its previous location. Her husband and two sons placed hard mesh wire over the windows to prevent further damage. Her first quilt for the church was called Ties That Bind since it was made from a collection of men’s neckties. Mrs. Bowers was a trained nurse, the mother of three and a skilled seamstress. Quilting became her passion on her return to Walhalla.

#67 Mariner’s Compass Quilt


The Iva Quilting Ladies Group has added their second quilt to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Called a Mariners Compass, it is located on the Peoples Bank located on the corner of Green Street and Highway 81 in Iva, SC. It too is on the SC Heritage Corridor and is a pattern that was used by many of the older ladies in the quilting club of years gone by. They met faithfully each week to quilt in the old Iva High School Cafeteria. Shawn McGee, CFO of the Peoples Bank, told us that one of those ladies was a member of his church as well as his Sunday school teacher. Another was his family’s “nanny” babysitter/housekeeper. “This is an excellent memorial to them, in appreciation for their faithful work.” Students of Sara Jordan, art teacher at Starr-Iva Middle School, assisted in the painting of this quilt block.

The complexity of the Mariners Compass pattern, appealed to skilled quiltmakers of the mid-1800′s. The radiating designs appeared in many variations under such names as Compass Rose, Chips and Whetstones, Sunburst and Sunflower. These patterns require the quilter to measure, cut and sew accurately, so that the points are sharp and all the pieces lie flat without bunching or rippling. Many girls studied geometry in school, learning the use of the drafting compass, an ancient tool for measuring and reproducing arcs. Compass patterns typically contain an even number of points, usually 12, 16 or 32, but some women showed off their skill by carefully crafting blocks with 11 or 13 points.

#68 Yellow Ribbon Quilt


Patriots’ Hall: Oconee Veterans Museum in Walhalla has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Sponsored by the Patriots’ Hall Association, the quilt pattern is a ‘Save Our Troops Ribbon” and called Yellow Ribbon. Marilyn Delay of Edwardsville, IL, originally quilted this pattern.

The origin of the yellow ribbon most likely came from our Puritan heritage.  The English Puritan Army wore yellow sashes onto the battlefield.  Yellow is the official color of the Armor Branch of the United States Army, was usually worn by the Cavalry, and was associated with the yellow neckerchief attributed to various artists in Hollywood films.  The symbol was first used as a popular military marching song in 1917 – “Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon”. These lyrics were somewhat altered in 1949 to “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”.

Currently, we see yellow ribbons around trees signifying the residents of a home are waiting for the return of a loved one. This idea originated from the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree”. During the Iran hostage crisis, the yellow ribbon was used as a symbol of support for the hostages held at the United States Embassy in Tehran. It symbolized the resolve of the American people to win the hostages’ safe release. There was renewed popularity of the yellow ribbon in the United States during the Gulf War in the 1990s, along with the slogan, “Support Our Troops.” It appeared again during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The yellow ribbon most prominently appears in magnetic form displayed on the outside of automobiles or as a small pin worn on the lapel.

Delay doesn’t remember a time she did not have a scrap of material in her hands. Her mother, grandmother and paternal aunts sewed, quilted, knitted, and crocheted. “There were quilt frames, sewing machines and needles of all kinds around the house. I finished my first quilt on my own shortly before my daughter was born 40 years ago. We still have the quilt and all three granddaughters and one grandson have used it.”

Delay’s philosophy about quilts? “I really feel quilts should be used daily.  Even Gracie, our dog, has her own quilts. Many times, the granddaughters will choose which quilt to use for their overnight stays. I love pinwheels and stars, and I love to work with the fabrics from the 1930′s.”

Delay earned a first place ribbon at the Madison County, IL, Fair and does piecing and long arm quilting for Quilts Beyond Borders and a local group that provides quilts to children in protective services and foster homes.  She’s an active member of the local Tie, Needles and Threads group, and she and her disabled veteran husband have been active in veterans’ affairs for years.

Made of camouflage and canvas, with flannel for batting, the Patriots’ Hall quilt is called Charlie’s Quilt in honor of Charles Brickett, former President of the Board of directors of the Patriots’ Hall Association and current member. Mrs. Delay worked with his wife, Joyce Brickett, Secretary of the Board, in deciding on the simple design.

Patriots’ Hall: Oconee Veterans Museum is located in the ‘Old Rock Building’ behind the Oconee County Court House on Short Street in Walhalla. The building was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is constructed from rock found at nearby historic Stumphouse Tunnel. Historically significant military displays are arranged in chronological order beginning with the Revolutionary War. The museum stands to honor all veterans and offers an opportunity for visitors to see firsthand what they have contributed and often sacrificed for our country, our freedom and our world.

For more information call 864/723-6603 or visit ( You can see all of the quilts blocks on the Quilt Trail on the website.

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC Installs 50th Quilt Block

Saturday, July 9th, 2011


Fifty and counting – that’s the number of quilt blocks that now comprise the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. This latest is titled “Kimono” and was originally designed by Ellen Kochansky, founder of the Rensing Center in Pickens, SC. A well known textile artist, designer and quilter, Kochansky’s craft is grounded in the traditional style. However, her work stretches beyond to include experimental fibers and mixed-media in response to community-based and site-specific commissions.


The “Kimono” quilt block has been mounted on the non-profit Rensing Center, named for Kochansky’s mother, Evelyn Rensing Kochansky. She and her husband Nicholas moved from Connecticut to Pickens in 1981. From 1981 to 1992, the building served as the studio for their daughter and a remarkable team who made a line of original, limited-edition bed quilts and a series of art quilts. The production line consisted of 12 to 15 seasonal styles, in two or three colors. They were sold primarily through the national competitive craft shows such as those sponsored by the American Craft Council. Over 2,000 quilts were produced here. The Rensing Center is located at 1165 Mile Creek Road in Pickens.

Inspiration for “Kimono” came from two sources. First, the tradition of resourcefulness and frugality typical of the quilts of the Depression years. They were often made of men’s suits, after the dark wool had become shiny from wear, and perhaps, Dad had lost his job. The fabric could be turned to the wrong side and used again to keep the family warm. Joyful jolts of color called ‘Zingers’ were added to keep the family spirits up and to enliven the quilt. This quilt was designed after Kochansky had spent a sick Christmas with friends and they comforted her with a family quilt of this vintage.

The second inspiration came from Kochansky’s training at Syracuse under Charles Dibble, a Japanese scholar. She was struck by the nature of  Japanese weaving tradition using a diagonal structure in which a standard fabric width of about 14 inches is used to create a kimono for any size person. In many weave-based traditions, the labor and resource intensity of the textile itself was revered, allowing many kimonos to be rebuilt time and again for new owners. She came across the Korean example of a wrapping cloth, a kind of square quilt with ribbons sewn to each corner that was used as a back pack. The design was often made from the specific diagonal wedges of fabric that were cut from the sleeve of the kimono.

Kochansky’s designs reflect the philosophy behind the Rensing Center itself – it serves as a connecting model between creative thinking and craftsmanship. As Kochansky explains, “Make use of what you have – This is what will solve the environmental, economic and creative problems of today. Nothing goes to waste! Finding what is scorned and discarded  in our less conscious society, and honoring it with a purpose that is both beautiful and useful…THERE is art!”

This 50th quilt on the driving trail is a turning point for the UHQT. It is only a year and a half since the first quilt block was hung in Oconee County. The trail has recently expanded into Pickens and Anderson counties with plans to continue expansion down the South Carolina Heritage Corridor to Charleston.

For more information visit (

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in South Carolina Reaches 44 Stops

Thursday, May 19th, 2011


For the last year and a half, I’ve been bringing you news about South Carolina’s only component of the National Quilt Trail – the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, which started out as the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail, but had grown to cover a much larger area of the Upsptate – now with 44 individual stops.

I’ve had a couple of articles waiting in the wings for photos of the quilt blocks or squares, but I recently checked the group’s website and found that everything I was waiting to tell you can be found there.

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail’s new website, found at ( was made possible in part by a grant from the Mountain Lakes R810guiltfest1egion of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor.


On the site you can read about the groups history in South Carolina and about the origins of the National Quilt Trail. There is also images of all 44 quilts and descriptions of the quilt patterns and their history. There is also an interactive Google map showing all the locations. You can even print out maps of locations from the website, so you can hit the road and do a scavenger hunt for the quilt blocks.

The locations are now spread throughout Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties – from the SC Welcome Center on I-85 in Fair Play, where travelers enter into SC from Georgia – to new locations in Central, Pendleton, Salem, Long Creek, Liberty, and Tamassee. Everyone is jumping on the quilt trail bandwagon – in at least one corner of the Upstate.

One thing I can’t figure out is what’s up with the rest of SC? There are a lot of quilt organizations and groups all over South Carolina, but I haven’t heard a peep out of anyone else about starting a quilt trail in their area of the state.

Some Articles About Exhibits Taking Place in the Carolinas Which Came In After Our February Deadline

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Some of these came in late – after our Jan. 24 deadline and a few came from folks just discovering us. Some think we should just add them to the paper – after all it’s not printed – it’s electronic, but I say no. That’s what deadlines are for and I don’t want several editions of the paper out there and people hearing about items they missed after they first viewed the paper. And, we might not always give these late articles a second life atCarolina Arts Unleashed. So people need to make that deadline.

If you haven’t seen our Feb. 2011 edition of Carolina Arts, you can find it at this link (Warning – this download can take several minutes) (

Coker College in Hartsville, SC, Features Works by Koichi Yamamoto

An exhibition of prints by Koichi Yamamoto, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee School of Art, is on view through Feb. 25, 2011, in the Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery located in the Gladys C. Fort Art Building in Hartsville, SC.

Tochika Ni, by Koichi Yamamoto, a 12″ x 24″ intaglio print

Yamamoto’s show, 00 To 10, includes a selection of intaglio prints (a printing process wherein an image is engraved or acid etched into a metal plate, inked then printed) and prints made with a monotype process, a procedure that yields only a single impression from each plate.

Merging traditional and contemporary approaches to printmaking, Yamamoto has worked with meticulous metal engravings, large-scale relief and intaglio prints. His current work is in large-scale monotypes and exemplifies a contemporary, international aesthetic developed from his upbringing in Japan and his education in Europe and North America. His prints explore issues of the sublime, memory, atmosphere, light and history through various representations of landscape.

“Surface only provides a record from recent events,” Yamamoto said. “Making critical judgments requires an understanding of what lies underneath. Addressing the landscape as subject, my work attempts to describe cross sections of history. I seek to slow down and take time for a deep level of investigation.”

Yamamoto is a graduate of the University of Alberta and Pacific Northwest College of Art. He has also studied at the Bratislava Academy of Art and the Poznan Academy of Art. His work has been included in a number of recent juried print competitions including the Boston Printmakers, the 7th Bharat Bhavan International Biennial Print Art in India and the Lujubljana International Printmaking Exhibition in Slovania. Yamamoto’s prints are in the collections of University of Hawaii at Hilo, the Vivian and Gordon Gilkey Graphic Center in the Portland Art Museum and the University of Alberta Museum and Collection.

The Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery is located in the Gladys C. Fort Art Building on the Coker College campus. Gallery hours are from 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday, while classes are in session.

Coker College upholds and defends the intellectual and artistic freedom of its faculty and students as they study and create art through which they explore the full spectrum of human experience. The college considers such pursuits central to the spirit of inquiry and thoughtful discussion, which are at the heart of a liberal arts education.

For more information, contact Barb Steadman by calling 843/857-4199.

UNC Asheville in Asheville, NC, Features Laura Hope-Gill’s Poetry and Photographs by John Fletcher Jr.


UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library will present the collaborative work of poet Laura Hope-Gill and photographer John Fletcher Jr., on view in Ramsey Library’s Blowers Gallery from Feb.  1- 28, 2011. Hope-Gill and Fletcher will also present a slideshow and poetry reading at 12:30pm, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in the library’s Whitman Room.

Hope-Gill and Fletcher’s book, The Soul Tree, features photographs of uniquely beautiful southern Appalachian landscapes accompanied by lyric poems, which illuminate themes of vision, faith, healing and the sacredness of nature. The Blowers Gallery exhibit will feature some of the images and poems from the book as well as more recent work inspired byThe Soul Tree.


The exhibit and the slideshow/poetry reading are free and open to the public.

Hope-Gill is the Poet Laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway and a recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council fellowship. She is also the founder and director of WordFest Poetry Festival in Asheville, and an instructor in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program. Fletcher is a photographer for the Asheville Citizen-Times. His 20-year career has included clients such asUSA Today, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

The gallery is free and open to the public daily and most evenings.

For more information, call 828/251-6336 or visit (

Greenville Technical College in Taylors, SC, Features Works by Faculty of SC Governor’s School

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts at the Greer campus of Greenville Technical College in Taylors, SC, is presenting an exhibit of works by members of the South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts and Humanities, on view through Feb. 18, 2011.

Impressive for its scope, the show includes works by photographer Carlyn Tucker, sculptor Joseph Thompson, painter Paul Yanko, ceramists Alice Ballard and Sharon Campbell, printer Katya Cohen, metals artist Ben Gilliam, and graphic designer Neil Summerour. We are pleased to showcase the creative excellence that exemplifies the commitment of arts faculty at this unique Upstate program.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings call Lisa Smith at 864/848-2044 or e-mail to (

Mesh Gallery in Morganton, NC, Features An Exhibit of Iron Works

Mesh Gallery in Morganton, NC, will present an exhibition showcasing the work of Oak Hill Iron that includes both fine art and utilitarian wares titledIronology. The exhibit will be on view from Feb. 14 through Apr. 8, 2011, with a reception taking place on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, from 6-9pm.

Oak Hill Iron was born out of necessity and driven by true talent and sheer determination to create beautiful products. Founded over a decade ago by Dean Curfman, Oak Hill Iron produces custom ironwork that meets the needs of countless utilitarian applications as well producing works of fine art that are at home in a gallery space. Both high art and craft are integral parts of a healthy arts community and with this exhibition Oak Hill Iron will demonstrate it’s ability to wear both those hats.

Oak Hill Iron is staffed by a team of highly trained artistic craftsmen and offers a wide selection of ironwork for both residential and commercial projects. There is no job that is considered too big or too small.

As always events at MESH Gallery are free and open to the public. Appetizers (hors d’oeuvres) for this event will be provided by Mountain Burrito of Morganton. Wine will be served by Sour Grapes Wine Distribution.

There will be a free concert starting at 8pm on Feb. 18, during the reception with a performance from Pimalia recording artists Moolah Temple $tringband hailing from Jackson County, NC. The duo of Johnny Favorite & Eden Moor co-pilot their goat-drawn deathcart, trailing the detritus of Old Time, Musique Concrète, Honky Tonk, IDM, Minstrelsy, songs of wounded affection, cautionary tales for our age, and the aesthetics of the Fraternal, Temperance, and Evangelical Movements. Moolah Temple $tringband rarely makes public appearances, but the duo is pleased to be invited by MESH. One clown is merely a clown, but two clowns make a circus.

Mesh Gallery is located at 114-B West Union Street, Morganton, NC.

For further information call 828/437-1957 or e-mail to (

Charleston County Public Library in Charleston, SC, Features Works by Cheryl Baskins Butler


The Charleston County Public Library in Charleston, SC, will present the exhibit, A Day at the Zoo: Impressions of Riverbanks, featuring works by Cheryl Baskins Butler, on view in the Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery, located in the Main Branch of the CCPL system in downtown Charleston, SC, from Feb. 1 – 28, 2011.

Butler began her sketch “safaris” at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, when it first opened in the mid 70’s. Throughout the ensuing years, she has returned regularly to observe, sketch, paint and spend personal time with the Riverbanks residents. A Day at the Zoo: Impressions of Riverbanks is a compilation of paintings, collages and site sketches from her visits.
The Main Library is located at 68 Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston.

For further information call Frances Richardson at 843/805-6803 or visit (

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in South Carolina is Growing

Friday, February 4th, 2011

It was about a year ago when we first brought you the story of South Carolina’s first entry into the National Quilt Trail program. It started out as the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail when the first quilt square was mounted on the Oconee Heritage Center in Walhalla, SC, in Oconee County. Since that time the Quilt Trail has expanded to Anderson and Pickens counties and has been renamed the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

If you’ve never heard anything about the National Quilt Trail you might want to read that first blog entry I made at this link ( It’s much bigger in North Carolina.

You can see a youTube video of that first installation and other activities at this link (, just click on the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail to the right.

These days I see quilt square’s or blocks everywhere – on the road and in photographs of other things. It’s amazing how one day you don’t know what something is and don’t care and then all of a sudden – you can spot them everywhere you go. Well, not so much in SC.

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail has a new website which is very informative at ( Check it out. It’s still in progress – they will be adding more photos and locations in time.

Here’s the group’s new press release:

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail continues to expand with the recent mounting of three new quilt blocks. Currently, there are now about 40 historic quilt patterns painted on boards and mounted on schools, barns, museums, libraries and homes in Oconee, Pickens and Anderson counties. The three latest are as follows:


Residence: Mrs. Rebecca DeFoor, 9221 Long Creek Hwy., in Westminster, SC – This quilt block has been lovingly prepared for Sarah Brown DeFoor to honor the memory of her late husband, Waymon Watson DeFoor, who died in 2010. The original quilt was made by Mr. DeFoor’s mother, Lucy Looney DeFoor, in the late 1930’s as a gift to the young couple. It has been in the family for more than 70 years. Sarah says it was too pretty to use, she’s been saving it! It’s finally out of storage and on her bed. Her daughter-in-law, Rebecca Harper DeFoor, worked on the quilt block along with members of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The maker of this quilt combined traditional Nine Patch blocks with the diagonal progression of the Double Irish Chain pattern. The result forms a “framed center” overall design reminiscent of the fine patchwork quilts of the early 19th century.


Residence: Nan and Christine Drais – 476 Fire Tower Rd.,  in Seneca, SC – Eagle Ridge Star was born from the love of the barn owners’ love for the Tennessee Walking Horse. This block demonstrates the way quilt makers transform existing patterns to feature individualized imagery. Fiery colors of red and orange in this traditional eight pointed star represent the maker’s passion for the breed, while turquoise and blue represent the peace of the relationship humans experience with horses. Nan and her daughter Christine Drais have been lifelong equine enthusiasts and built Eagle Ridge Farm in 2005. Christine started quilting while in graduate school at Clemson University where she wrote her Master’s thesis on quilt travel.


Residence: Karen Books, 307 Valley Rd., in Seneca, SC – Quilt makers of the 21st century often choose to “paint” naturalistic images using fabric, as with this pair of loons. Instead of the square format of traditional block patterns, contemporary quilts often take the shape of a rectangle. The artist for this quilt is McKenna Ryan from her collection “Calling Me Home.” It is an adaptation from “All-a-Loon in the Mist” quilt. The original quilter is Pat Huggins of Seneca, SC, and it was sponsored by family and friends of Karen Brooks.

For more information on the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, check out the website ( or call Martha File at 864/885-1018 or Cynthia Leggett at 864/985-1271.