If you go
› What: Stitches in Time Quilt Show
› When: Through Thursday, Feb. 28; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
› Where: Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St., Cleveland, Tennessee
› Admission: $5 adults, $4 seniors/students
› Phone: 423-339-5745
› Website: www.museumcenter.org
› Feb. 12-16: Lobby exhibit by David Gilleland
› Feb. 16: Paper-Piecing with David Gilleland, 10 a.m. (repeats at 1 p.m. if 10 a.m. class fills up)
› Feb. 19-28: Lobby exhibit by Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild
› Feb. 23: Between the Stitches Showcase with the Friends of the Library, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Rosettes with trailing ribbons hang from some of the artistry on display at the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland, Tennessee. Surely the artists don't mind these add-ons. The extra bits of fabric denote the winners in the annual Stitches in Time Quilt Show.
The exhibition opened Jan. 31 with a ceremony naming this year's best entries, as selected by returning judge Kay Papenfuss, a fiber artist based in Clarksville, Tennessee, and a qualified quilt judge with the Tennessee Valley Quilting Association.
"Watching Kay work is always a treat because she spends time with each and every quilt," says Lindsay Overby-Shirkey, the museum's curator of collections. "Even if the category has only one entry, she still spends her time to appreciate and examine the quilt instead of simply putting the ribbon on it and moving on. She gives the quilts the attention they deserve. She says that antique quilts are the hardest to judge because it's like saying 'your grandma is better than your grandma!'"
This year's quilting challenge featured 10 categories of judging, including antique quilts, bed quilts, art quilts, wall hangings and quilts fashioned by novices, youths or groups.
Judged Best in Show, as well as first-place in wall hangings, was "The Color Purple," by Beverly Cherry. The decorative piece offers a lush mix of hearts, flowers, butterflies, ribbons and bows in every shade of the royal color.
In addition to the submitted quilts on display in the gallery, there are rotating displays in the lobby and classes led by quilting experts. The Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild will have the final lobby display Feb. 19-Feb. 28, when the exhibit closes.
The museum will partner with the Friends of the Library Association of the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library on Feb. 23 for a Between the Stitches Showcase that will include quilting demonstrations, arts and crafts vendors, music by a bluegrass band and a series of bed-turnings, sort of a show-and-tell of select quilts.
More than 100 quilts were entered in the show this year, up from 75 last year, which was lower than usual, according to Overby-Shirkey.
"Our quilt show always generates excitement from our local quilting community," she says. "We have regulars who enter every year and those who just discovered it and are bringing their quilts to be judged for the first time. Since it is an annual event, people come to expect it and look forward to it. We have groups come to tour the quilt show from field trips to assisted-living communities."
Overby-Shirkey says her favorite part of the show is "hearing the quilters talk about their quilts."
"There's so much more that goes into these quilts than what can be written on paper," she explains. "Quilts have stories behind them — why they were quilted, why they quilted what they did or events that happened during the quilting. I also love the excitement when a quilter receives an award for all their hard work. It makes the show a lot of fun, and the happiness and excitement is contagious."
Contact Lisa Denton at email@example.com or 423-757-6281.