Quilting in NW Iowa: An Evolving Tradition

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Quilting in NW Iowa: An Evolving Tradition
May 17, 2012 9:00 am
May 19, 2012 6:00 pm
April 27, 2012
Bultman Center, Northwestern College
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Industrial Bypass Road, Orange City , IA, 51041, United States

Quilt show adds workshops May 17-19: Quilting in Northwest Iowa: An Evolving Tradition will be part of the Sioux Prairie Quilters' annual Tulip Festival quilt show May 17-19. Workshops will be held twice daily, on quilting traditions and stories, hand quilting and appliqué, and patterns and colors, featuring members of Sioux Prairie Quilters. Left to right are presenters: Linda Feikema, Orange City; Barb Tazelaar and Laurey Zwart, Sioux Center; Marcia Van Oort, Doon; Kathy Fictorie, Sioux Center; and Kathy Kelly and Carolyn Elder, Orange City.

ORANGE CITY – Six local quilters will give workshops, Quilting in Northwest Iowa: An Evolving Tradition, at the Sioux Prairie Quilters quilt show during Orange City’s Tulip Festival May 17-19.


Curious about quilting? Intimidated by the experts? Come for informal talks about choosing fabric, picking patterns, and selecting colors. Learn what makes a good quilt from some of the best, and hear the family stories embedded in the quilts. Watch daily demonstrations and try your hand with a practice quilt.


Featured workshops on Thursday will be Evolving Traditions by Carolyn Elder of Orange City and Marcia Van Oort of Doon.


On Friday, workshops are Hand Quilting and Appliqué, featuring Linda Feikema and Kathy Kelly, of Orange City.


Saturday’s workshops will be Patterns and Colors, with Barb Tazelaar and Kathy Fictorie, of Sioux Center.


Bed turnings, featuring stories about quilts, will be held daily following the workshops. Laurey Zwart and Pat Jongewaard of Sioux Center and Mary Zagaeski of Rock Valley will lead the bed turnings.


The 45-minute workshops will be moderated by Dr. Riki Saltzman, the Iowa Arts Council’s folklife coordinator.


All presenters are members of Sioux Prairie Quilters, which has a 30-year history in northwest Iowa. Founded in the 80s by six quilters, the group grew and spawned new clubs in Sheldon and Le Mars. Now the guild has 44 members, mainly from Sioux and Lyon counties – young and old, beginners and masters. The quilt show has become a defining feature of the guild.


Most of the workshop leaders learned to quilt from their mothers or grandmothers. “I grew up thinking quilting was a Dutch art form,” said Linda Feikema with a smile.  “I now know better, but I think Dutch women in particular have a deep understanding of the need to use each scrap of fabric wisely.”


The quilt show will be held 9:00am to 8:00pm Thursday and Friday, and 9:00am to 6:00pm Saturday, at the Bultman Center at Northwestern College. Workshops will be held daily at 10:00am and 4:00pm. Admission to the quilt show is $5.


The program is sponsored by the Sioux Prairie Quilters, the Orange City Arts Council, the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts: Folk & Traditional Arts Program. Saltzman will also record several members of Sioux Prairie Quilters for the Iowa Roots radio program and the Iowa Folklife Collection at the State Folk Arts archives.


Similar programs will be held in Storm Lake May 19 and Council Bluffs June 10.


For more information, contact ocArts@orangecityiowa.com.





Quilting in Western Iowa: Evolving Traditions

Riki Saltzman, Folklife Coordinator

Curious about quilting? Intimidated by the experts? Take this opportunity to visit with master quilters in Orange City, Storm Lake, and Council Bluffs. You’ll learn what makes a good quilt from some of the best and hear the family stories embedded in the quilts. As well, visitors can watch demonstrations and try their hand with a practice quilt.

The Iowa Arts Council is pleased to announce a series of three public quilting programs in Western Iowa in May and June of this year at the Sioux Prairie Quilters’ Show at Northwestern College’s Bultman Center during Tulip Festival in Orange City (May 17-19 at 10 and 4 each day), at the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake (May 19 at 1:30), and at The Center in Council Bluffs (June 10 at 2).

Traditional quilting in western Iowa really is about community and giving back, which the NEA-funded Iowa Folklife Survey really brought home. According to folklorist Andrea Graham, who documented folk & traditional artists during 2008-9, “One of the strongest traditions throughout [western Iowa] is quilting. There are quilt stores in Council Bluffs, Storm Lake, Carroll, Exira, Le Mars, Harlan, Elk Horn, Cherokee and Creston, and . . . many more I didn’t see. Many . . . towns also have organized quilt guilds—Harlan, Walnut, Glenwood, Cherokee, Orange City and Storm Lake, to name a few. I heard of or visited church quilt groups in Panama, Manning, Harlan, Cherokee, Storm Lake, Shenandoah, Le Mars, Correctionville, Portsmouth and Earling, and that just scratches the surface. But the most interesting quilting traditions I saw were the church groups who hand-quilt for other people as a fundraiser for their church, or make tied scrap quilts for charity, both local and overseas.”


Featured quilters at the different programs include Carolyn Elder, Linda Feikema, and Kathy Kelly (Orange City), Marcia Van Oort (Doon), Barb Tazelaar, Kathy Fictorie, Laurey Zwart, and Pat Jongewaard (Sioux Center), and Mary Zagaeski (Rock Valley) at the Orange City event; Carole Suhr, Leann Baumhover and Ruth Anderson in Storm Lake; and Jeanine Williams, Rachel Summy, and Karen Hochom in Council Bluffs.


Collaborations with the Orange City Arts Council, Friends of the Storm Lake Library, Witter Gallery, Bluffs Arts Council, the Sioux Prairie Quilter’s Guild, and the Southwest Iowa Piecemakers as well as with local quilters have made these public programs possible, as has support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Iowa Arts Council.

For further information, please contact folklorist Riki Saltzman, Iowa Arts Council, at riki.saltzman@iowa.gov or 515/242-6195; Janine Calsbeek, Orange City Arts Council, at  712-707-6514 or ocArts@orangecityiowa.com; Elizabeth Huff, Storm Lake Public Library, at 712-732-8026; and Laural Ronk, Bluffs Arts Council, at 712-328-4992.