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West Virginia Division of Culture and History Partners with Quilters to Make Handmade Squares for a West Virginia Statehood

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, in partnership with the West Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, invited quilters from across the state to help make a West Virginia Statehood Sesquicentennial Quilt.  The response was overwhelming and the quilt squares have been stitched together with the help of local quilt guilds.  The quilt is now being quilted and will return to the Culture Center to be introduced on West Virginia Day, June 20, 2013

The quilt is made up of more than 55 squares, with a handmade square representing each of the state’s 55 counties. The finished quilt will be a feature of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s WV150 display, which will be exhibited at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, in 2013.

Quilting is such an integral part of life and heritage in West Virginia that we want to showcase one in our Sesquicentennial exhibit and preserve it with the other wonderful heritage quilts in our State Museum collection,” said Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.  “Since we are commemorating our statehood, we think having a square to represent each county is a fitting tribute to the fine handwork of quilters around the state.

Quilters interested in making a square to represent their counties contacted Renee Margocee, individual artist coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, who accepted applications for each county on a first-come, first accepted basis.

Each quilter could select any pattern for the 6-inch square that he or she submitted,” Margocee said.  “In keeping with the statehood theme, we encouraged them to consider a West Virginia or traditional theme, but did not limit their choice of pattern.” She said that pieced and applique patterns were acceptable, as was embroidery stitching. Each participating quilter received a packet with quilt guidelines and fabric for the background and two main feature fabrics. These colorways focus on the fabric patterns and colors that would have been available in 1863, the year West Virginia became a state.

We want our quilt to have a coordinated look, but still provide for the artistic creativity of each quilter,” Margocee said.  “Along with the fabric squares that they receive, each quilter may select up to two additional fabrics to add to their squares. 

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* All photographs are courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives
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