Posts Tagged ‘Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail’

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.

The Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild’s Biennial Festival of Quilts Takes Place in Seneca, SC – Sept. 17 & 18, 2010

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Our first mention of quilts on this blog was made in Feb. 2010, when we brought you news about the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail being developed in Oconee County, SC. Since that time the Quilt Trail has expanded to Anderson and Pickens counties and has been renamed the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. We also talked about how developed these quilt trails are in Western North Carolina. You can read that entry at this link.


Now, I’m bringing you news about a Festival of Quilts and the official kickoff of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

The biennial Festival of Quilts will be held on Sept. 17 & 18, 2010, at the Shaver Center, located at 698 West South 4th Street in Seneca, SC. The show will be open on Friday from 10am until 6pm and on Saturday from 10am until 4pm. More than 200 quilts, all made by Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild (LMQG) members, will be on display throughout Seneca. Admission is $5, but children 12 and under get in free.

The Festival of Quilts features quilts produced by members in a variety of categories from traditional bed quilts to art quilt wall hangings, wearables and other quilted home decor. Demonstrations, special exhibits reflecting guild projects and challenges, and displays honoring special guild members are an integral part of the show. A donation quilt made by members, a Fat Quarters basket prize (a quilter’s dream) and a charity auction are part of the excitement. Even a Car Quilt is featured – in the past it has been the hit of the show.

The Presentation Quilt – Eat Your Greens

The Festival of Quilts will also highlight two other special quilt related events, the recognition of the Oconee Quilter of the Year, Mrs. Jenny Grobusky, and the official kickoff of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

Jenny Grobusky began quilting in 1993, creating a king-sized bedspread in the Dresden Plate pattern for her husband, George, in honor of their 50th anniversary. It was the first quilt she’d ever made and it launched a whole new career for her of quilting and teaching others to quilt. She had been a seamstress all her life, teaching all aspects of sewing at the Fred P. Hamilton Career Center and elsewhere in the area. As part of the reward process in being named Oconee Quilter of the Year, her quilt pattern was painted and mounted on the barn at her family farm, becoming part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. She was also honored in May 2010 at a reception at the Blue Ridge Arts Council in Seneca.


The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail will celebrate their grand kick-off in conjunction with the Quilt Show. A sample of painted quilt blocks will be on display during the show and maps of the Quilt Trail will also be available. Several of the sites displaying show quilts also have Quilt Trail blocks mounted on their building. Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail (UHQT) was formally established in February 2010 with the mounting of four quilt blocks on buildings. Since then, local interest in the Quilt Trail has increased rapidly, and new painted panels (almost 30) are popping up throughout Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties. The establishment of the Upstate Quilt Trail adds South Carolina to the National Quilt Trail, established in 2001.


The LMQG and its members preserve the traditions, culture and history of quilting in Oconee, Anderson and Pickens Counties. They promote fellowship among quilters; contribute to the knowledge and appreciation of fine quilts; sponsor and support quilting activities, and contribute to the growth of knowledge of quilting techniques, textiles, patterns and quilt makers through educational meetings and travel. More importantly, they create Comfort Quilts for children and adults at Oconee Medical Center, Hospice of the Foothills and local nursing homes. When a non-local need arises, such as a Ronald McDonald House, or a catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina, LMQG members rise to the challenge to provide the comfort of a soft, warm quilt to make the recipient’s days a little brighter.

For more information on the festival, log onto (

3rd Annual HAM Festival Takes Place in Seneca, SC – July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Correction: The date of the Festival is July 24, 2010 – not the 14 as previously stated.

The 3rd Annual Heritage, Arts & Music Festival (HAM) will take place on July 24, 2010, from noon to 5pm at Duke Energy’s World of Energy, located at 7812 Rochester Highway in Seneca, SC. The theme of this year’s festival is focused on quilts and proceeds benefit the Blue Ridge Arts Center and the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail.


We first reported on South Carolina’s first entry into a national quilt trail project back on Feb. 15, 2010 – here’s the link to that blog entry (

Since that time a lot of activity on this project has been going on and I recently received a fairly long article about some of those activities and upcoming events, but we’re going to feed them to you in shorter bites.

So first up is the HAM Festival.

The Heritage, Arts & Music Festival (HAM Festival) offers a number of free activities for the whole family including: Quilt Historian Laurel Horton will give a talk from 1 to 3:30pm; Hands-on Art Station for Children; Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail Painting; Artisan’s Sidewalk Sale; Quilt-Themed Art Show, Featuring a Variety of Mediums on view through Aug. 20 inside lobby of World of Energy; Live Music by Conservation Theory and Four Mule Pileup; Oconee County Storyteller Phil Cheney Performs at 1pm; and National Award Award-Winning Youth Storyteller Rixon Lane Performs at 3pm.

For further information call the World of Energy at 800/777-1004 or visit (

So what’s been going on since last we reported? Well you could probably learn a lot by attending the HAM Festival or visiting the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail website at (, but here’s a little of what was in the recent press release.

Quilt Square placed on Blue Ridge Elementary School – a Jackson Star

Residents of the area are beginning to see something new in Oconee County (Seneca, Salem, Walhalla, Westminster) – Quilts. Not the cloth and batting kind of quilts, but rather historic quilt patterns painted on specially prepared boards and mounted on buildings in the area. Thanks to members of the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild (LMQG), the Blue Ridge Arts Center (BRAC) and some dedicated volunteers, the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail (OHQT) has been established.

The Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail is in the process of creation of these “painted quilts” and hanging them where they can be enjoyed and admired by local residents and visitors alike, either one at a time or by following the Quilt Trail through the county.  Once finished, the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative installs the quilt blocks on their new homes. The blocks are then listed on the trail map in OHQT brochures and on the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail website.

Besides creating painted quilts, the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild and the Blue Ridge Arts Center are inaugurating the Quilt Trail in a number of ways. Mrs. Jenny Grobusky of Walhalla, SC, has been named Oconee Quilter of the Year, the first recipient of this honor. As part of the reward process, her first quilt pattern, a Dresden Plate pattern, was painted and mounted on the barn at her family farm, becoming part of the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail. She was honored in May 2010 at a reception at theBlue Ridge Arts Center, and will be recognized again at the upcoming Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild Festival held on Sept. 17 & 18, 2010, at the Shaver Center in Seneca. The (LMQG) represents guilters from Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties in SC.

We’ll offer you more about the history of the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail and info about the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild Festival later.

For further info about the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail you can call Cynthia Leggett at 864/985-1271; Laurel Horton at 864/882-9933; or Martha File at 864/885-1018. You can e-mail to ( or visit (

Launch of National Quilt Trail in South Carolina – Feb. 16, 2010 in Walhalla, SC

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I guess all things come to South Carolina – eventually. I received an e-mail about this event from the Blue Ridge Arts Council in Seneca, SC, a few days ago and I wish I had gotten to it sooner now that I’ve looked into this Quilt Trail thing. But, with the big snow fall and our deadline for the March issue of Carolina Arts, I kind of let this spoil on the vine some.

Here’s the press release we got:

February 16th, 2010 – Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail

Contact: Martha File, by calling 864/885-1018, e-mail at ( or Cynthia Leggett at 864/985-1271.

The public is invited to the dedication of the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail (OHQT) on Tuesday, February 16, 2010.  The dedication will begin at 4 p.m. at Keowee Elementary School located on Keowee School Road.  It will then move to the Oconee Conservatory of Fine Arts (, located across from the Walhalla Civic Auditorium, 101 East North Broad Street, Walhalla; and will end at the Oconee Heritage Museum, located at 123 Brown Square Drive, Walhalla, at approximately 5:15 pm.

The OHQT is sponsored by the Blue Ridge Arts Council in concert with a group of volunteers dedicated to putting South Carolina on the National Quilt Trail. The first three quilts have been completed and several others are in production. The quilts have been painted on specially prepared boards to be mounted on buildings in the area.

The patterns and their locations include a Mariner’s Compass pattern painted by students of Keowee Elementary School to be hung at the front entrance; a Goose in the Pond pattern to be hung on the Oconee Conservatory of Fine Arts; and a Rocky Mountain Road pattern to be hung on the Oconee Heritage Center. This last quilt is on display in the Heritage Center and was originally made by Lena Mae Land Talley of Mountain Rest, SC.

Please visit the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail web site for history of the National Quilt Trail at (

Blue Ridge Arts Center, 111 E. South Second St., Seneca, SC 29678-3403; Phone/Fax:  (864) 882-2722
E-mail:  (
Web:  (

End of press release

Frankly, I had never heard of this National Quilt Trail before this e-mail, much less one in South Carolina or North Carolina for that matter, but after a little searching of websites and the Internet, I’ve learned it started in Ohio and is now in 24 states. And, now it’s come to South Carolina. It’s a pretty interesting subject.

What surprised me the most is how much North Carolina is into this Quilt Trail as tourism development – it’s quite widespread in Western North Carolina which has its own website – Quilt Trails of Western North Carolina.

I found this notice of a quilt road rally on their site:

Quilt Trails of Western North Carolina is holding two Road Rallys in 2010: June 26, 2010 and November 5, 2010. The June Rally will end with a Bar BQ sponsored by Carolina Mountain Lifestyles, at The Cove at Celo Mountain. (Details for the November Rally are not yet finalized.)

This fun-filled rally will feature a long version (about 5 hours) and a short version (about 2 hours), with a shotgun start at Mountain Heritage High School in Burnsville, NC, at 8am for the long rally, and 12 noon for the short rally. Prizes will be made by local artists. All contestants must be back no later than 5pm or will be disqualified.

The goal of each Rally will be to find a set of painted quilt blocks on a list you will be given, by driving the fewest miles. The Rally will take you throughout Yancey and Mitchell Counties (NC) at a really lovely time of the year. You will see beautiful farmland, mountain vistas, waterfalls, bold streams and quaint towns. Cost to participate will be $35. Save $10 by registering online before June 15. Rally will be limited to 150 cars. For more information, call 828-682-7331.

Now that sounds like a real interesting way to visit these areas.

I also found some websites for different WNC counties participating in this National Quilt Trail. Here’s some links: McDowell County, NC, Quilt Trail,Macon County, NC, Quilt Trail, and Avery County, NC, Quilt Trail.

Here’s a few photos from the Avery County Quilt Trail site showing some of the quilt designs and the buildings they are on.


#15 Mountain Laurel, created by Mickey Banner’s Advanced Art Students at Avery High School at the Avery County Morrison Public Library, Newland, NC.


#14 Storey’s Star, created by Fred Pfohl on a barn of Wilma Storey, in Elk Park, NC (across the street from Beech Mountain Elementary School).

HandMade in America an organization based in Asheville, NC, that has been instrumental in helping small towns in WNC use the visual arts to develop cultural tourism and commerce has received a grant to help communities in WNC become part of the National Quilt Trail.

And, we’re just catching up in South Carolina. Well, as I was always told by the folks at the SC Arts Commission when I asked them why they are doing something a certain way – the response usually was – we do things this way because that’s what they do in North Carolina – but, I’ve learned in the last twelve years – that ain’t so! Folks in NC are very aggressive when it comes to using the arts to develop tourism and South Carolina just never seems to get it.

I hope to have more on this subject in the future – that is quilt trails in South Carolina. And, yes – there will be more about the SC Arts Commission – but then you knew that.