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San Juan Historical Museum to participate in Art Walk

The first Art Walk of this summer will be held on Friday. Several shops and galleries will be open late to allow for enjoyment of local art.

The San Juan Historical Museum will join in this event, remaining open until 7 p.m., or until people are no longer coming in to enjoy the history displays and quilt show.

In addition to displays of artifacts of local history, the museum gift shop carries locally handcrafted items, quilt patterns from local designer Shirley Brinkmann and early photos of Pagosa Springs and it’s people and places. Some of the quilts in the exhibit are also for sale.

Businesses participating in the Art Walk will be distinguished by a red flag, which will hang outside the store during the Art Walk. Some will remain open as late as 9 p.m. You are encouraged to take advantage of this great opportunity to stroll around town and see some terrific art.

The event will also take place one evening in July and one evening in August. Watch The PREVIEW for upcoming dates.

Special exhibits

The San Juan Historical Society offers our community and visitors to Pagosa Springs two special exhibits this summer: “100 Years of Scouting” and “Quilting: Past meets the Present.” These exhibits will be available for viewing enjoyment until Sept. 11.

“100 Years of Scouting” is a portion of the collection of memorabilia from a local scouter, along with highlights of the past 100 years of scouting in the United States.

The special exhibit, “Quilting: Past meets the Present,” is held under the direction of Shirley Brinkmann, local quilter, artist and designer. The exhibit includes several pairs of quilts, on of the pair is an antique quilt — the second in the pair is a new quilt made with the antique quilt as inspiration.

A true work of art

One of the pairings is the older “Star of England” quilt, circa 1825, meeting the new “Star of England 2010.”

These quilts are from the collection of local quilt artist Cindy Vermillion Hamilton. About the history of the 1825 quilt, Hamilton shares, “On a trip to England in 2006, I stumbled across this tattered treasure at a second hand shop in Barnard Castle. In spite of its poor condition, I was struck by the unusual design of the star pieced into a circle and by the fact that the squares were set in a repeat block format. At the time the blocks were stitched, about 1840, it was unusual to repeat blocks in this way in quilts in the British Isles. This style of organizing blocks developed and flourished in the United States a decade or so later.”

She goes on to tell us that clues from the quilt indicate the quilt was completed, perhaps decades later, by a second person, “The older fabrics of the blocks have deteriorated over time, whereas the border fabric for the most part is in good condition, indicating that it is of a later date than the fabrics used in the blocks.”

The second quilt in the pairing is “Star of England 2010,” which was stitched by Hamilton. She has studied and created quilts for many years, winning many accolades along the way.

Hamilton tells us, “One might wonder why anyone would be interested in purchasing an old, tattered quilt that is not in usable condition. To a quilter, such an object has great value as a historic document of a quilt pattern design from a certain time period, and as a source for a historical pattern that can be replicated in today’s fabrics.”

In continuing to share the background of this quilt, she captures the essence of this year’s special exhibit, “When I found that original quilt in a shop in England I knew immediately that I would make one just like it, both to document the unusual pattern and design of the top, and to create a quilt I could use in my home. Quilters today have a vast resource of reproduction fabrics to use in creating their new works and I was able to find many fabrics similar to those in the old quilt, dating from the first fabrics similar to those in the old quilt, dating from the first decades of the 1800s. In color and design, the fabrics I found are nearly identical to those the original maker used.

“Unlike the original quilt, I used batting in my quilt and chose a quilting design that echoes that of the old quilt as well as being consistent with what was used in quilts of the early 1800s. I wanted to create a quilt that was as authentic as possible, so I stitched the edge of the quilt in a butted edge, as did the original maker. Thanks to my reproduction, this lovely pattern has been saved from oblivion and may perhaps inspire makers to create their own version of Star of England in the future.”

You are invited to view the “Star of England” quilts along with the other quilts in this special showing.

Gift shop

The museum gift shop offers patterns for some of the quilts on display. There is also a nice selection of quilting and regional history books, tote bags and purses, historic playing cards and old photographs from this area.

Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The museum is located at 96 Pagosa St. in downtown Pagosa Springs.