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Statewide exhibit's final stop is Arts Clayton

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

For the last two years, the Georgia Quilt Council has taken its "Crazy Quilts Tour" across the state to promote the art of quilting.

In January, Arts Clayton, the county's premier art gallery, will be the tour's final stop before the quilts are given back to their respective creators.

"Crazy Quilts" are not a new idea, but one that originated in the Victorian period, around the turn of the 19th Century, according to Robin Meyer, tour coordinator for the Georgia Quilt Council. In order to show off their embroidery skills, women of the era would use their excess clothing scraps, and other materials, to stitch together pieces of art, she said.

"There is a tendency to think of quilts as bed covers," said Meyer. "It shows another side of it by showing crazy quilts. It makes quilting and handwork accessible, manageable, and something you might want to try."

The show, which will be on display at Arts Clayton until the end of January, contains unique, small quilts made by 28 artists from around the state. Among the entries are quilts made out of '70s-era leisure suit ties, vintage, 1950s, Elvis Presley clothing memorabilia, and drapery scraps.

Since 2007, the tour has made its way through Savannah, Blue Ridge, Evans, Vidalia, Sautee, Calhoun, Milledgeville, and Tifton. The stop at Arts Clayton is the tour's "swan song."

"This show in Jonesboro is the last time these quilts will be together," Meyer said. "They have been on tour for two years, and they will be returned to their makers at the end of this exhibit."

Karen Powers, Arts Clayton gallery manager, said the gallery welcomes the exhibit.

"We're honored to be the final showcase," she said. "You usually think of quilting as something your grandmother did to keep you warm. This is a chance to see fiber art at its finest. It's a real good mix of old and new, vintage and modern," Powers said. "There are a lot of young people who are seeing a skill that the older generation used for necessity, and turning it into art."

The opening reception for the Crazy Quilts Tour will take place at Arts Clayton on Jan. 8, from 5:30 p.m., to 7:30 p.m. Admission to the exhibit and the opening reception are free. For more information, call (770) 473-5457, or visit www.artsclayton.org/gallery.