Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC Installs Quilt Block #200 and #201

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC celebrated its 200th quilt square, To the Mountains, at the Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce at 222 W. Main St. in Pickens, SC. For eight years, the Quilt Trail has grown, block by block, into a meaningful part of Upstate South Carolina’s landscape for locals who want to preserve the history and traditions of the area. While the Quilt Trail is built, perpetuated, and maintained by locals with a passion for their history, it is also a unique experience for visitors to the area. The Trail appeals to those who enjoy art, nature, history, crafting, story-telling, and even just taking a car ride through the countryside.

As the UHQT has grown over the years, it has forged a path through the lives of so many in its surrounding communities. The members of the Trail are comprised of people who have had the tradition of quilting passed down to them, those whose created the tradition for themselves, and those who are not quilters but still help make the trail possible in various ways. There are now two teams of over 20 volunteers in Anderson and Oconee Counties and soon Pickens County who contribute over 7,000 hours per year giving presentations, painting quilt squares with members of the community, and finding ways to improve and promote this priceless resource. This art form has woven its way into the hearts of this community and beyond.

The original quilt, To the Mountains, a small landscape piece, was created by Joy duBois of Seneca. Joy met a quilter by the name of Gail Sexton, at the Upcountry Quilters Guild which meets at the Pickens Presbyterian Church in Pickens. Joy subsequently took a class that Gail was teaching in a new landscaping technique at the former local quilt shop, Heirlooms and Comforts. She enjoyed the class and the teacher so much that she went on meeting Gail for weekly sessions where they quilted together. Joy has many quilts in her “stash,” both landscape and appliqued borders that Gail designed and Joy has hand quilted.

When it came time to choose the quilt to adorn the Greater Chamber of Commerce building for the 200th block installment, this landscape quilt of mountains, rivers and a foreground of flowers and a tree was chosen from a group beautiful little landscape quilts by Kimberly Smagala, a life-long friend of Joy’s as well as the newest Chamber Executive Director.

For Kim and Joy, it all began 30 years ago. “My family moved from Texas when I was 5 years old and my baby quilt had shouldered a lot of love and use. My mother started working in a real estate with Jere, Joy’s husband. That is when we first met she mended and refurbished my quilt several times for me as I grew up. Joy has made myself, my mother, and my children many quilts throughout the years, including baby quilts. She and her husband are like family. ”

“The chamber office is the first stop for many visitors who visit our city. It is our hope to highlight more quilts throughout the Main Street corridor and around town as a part of a walking/bike tour. Quilting is part of our rich heritage and we are surrounded by so many talented quilters locally, especially those from the Upcountry Quilters’ Guild. We look forward to not only seeing more renderings of these beautiful quilts throughout downtown Pickens, but also creating a destination spot similar to what Landrum and Westminster, SC have accomplished.”

“A quilt warms the body and the soul, having this remarkable painted quilt panel by these talented artists portraying the beautiful craftsmanship that Joy put into this piece is amazing,” stated Smagala. This quilt panel was funded through the Pickens County ATAX Commission to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

201st UHQT Quilt The Cross

The Cross quilt is the 201st quilt added to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. It is displayed on the Westminster Baptist Church, 212 East Windsor in Westminster, SC. The painted quilt block was sponsored by members of the Westminster Baptist Church. The Cross quilt block was designed by Janet Houts and taught during a quilting retreat at Kanuga Episcopal Camp in Hendersonville, NC attended by Paige Price and Denise McCormick.

Paige and Denise knew it would be perfect for their church and fellow quilters, Deanna DeFoor and Beckie DeFoor. Together they joined efforts and worked to piece and quilt a wall hanging, measuring 30 inches by 42 inches, as a gift to the members of the congregation. It was first displayed in the church on Easter Sunday, 2015. Several member of the church helped to paint the quilt block and it was presented to the congregation on Easter Sunday 2017. Being on the quilt trail allows everyone who passes by to enjoy the beauty of the fabric and painted quilts.

The cross is a Christian symbol that represents Jesus’s victory over sin and death. We are reminded about God and His plan of redemption through the symbolic significance of colors in the Bible. The two main colors of Westminster Baptist Church quilt are blue and gold. Blue is the color of the sky and a reminder of the heavenly realm. It also signifies the Healing Power of God. Gold represents God’s love because His love is more precious and more valuable than all the gold in the world. Love is the gold of God.

Westminster Baptist Church has been in the heart of town for more than 130 years. In the 1870’s, the town of Westminster, named after the original church located in a log building situated on the site of the Westminster First Baptist Church, grew up along the railroad and soon developed into a bustling business area. As the population shifted more toward the commercial area, some members of the church decided to build a church nearer the center of town. In 1884, they established a church ‘in the heart of town’. Now, more than 130 years later, the motto “In the heart of town, with a heart for the people” is still a principle held by its members. Located on E. Windsor Street, the church strives “to reach and develop devoted followers of Jesus Christ who love Him, grow in Him, and serve others in His name.”

For further info about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail visit (www.uhqt.org).

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