More to Quilts Than Bedspreads!

WOW! These are not the quilts Grandma made for us and we loving draped over ourselves and our beds! These quilts are works of art that hang on the walls of homes and offices. They adorn the walls of the rich and famous. They are cherished and coveted as much as a work by your favorite painter. Once you see them, you know why. Come take a peek inside the National Quilt Museum with us!

The National Quilt Museum is the vision of Bill and Meredith Schroeder of Paducah, Kentucky and is now celebrating its 25th year. Both are quilting enthusiasts and they wanted to start a Museum that would celebrate the work of quilters and bring this amazing art form to audiences who had never experienced it. The quilts are breathtaking works of art in a variety of mediums and techniques.

The Museum changes exhibits 8-10 times per year, so visitors will enjoy a unique experience every time they visit. When the Museum opened in 1991, the entire collection included 85 quilts that were on loan from the founders. Today the Museum’s collection exceeds 500 works of art. At any given time, 50-60 of these quilts are on display in the gallery. Quilters and visitors from 50 US states and over 40 foreign countries from every continent share in the experience of the exhibited quilts.

Creating one of these spectacular quilts takes an enormous amount of time and talent. A quilter can invest a 1000+ hours and a year or more of their life to create one quilt. But if you are fortunate enough to create a winner, the rewards an be eminence! It has grown into a $3 Billion  are year industry. The highly successful quilters can earn 6-7 figure incomes! Prizes for Best of Show run in the neighborhood of $20-30,00. Along with sales to the public and residual income from manufactures of the products they use in making a quilt the income can add up significantly. Then there is income derived from YouTube DIY videos. Every quilt has a story. Here are just a few!


Cynthia Morgan is a resident of the Sunshine Coast at Caloundra, an hours drive north of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. She is an example of a quilter of national and international stature that has at least one quilt on display at the National Quilt Museum. Through her quilts Cynthia wants to make the viewer more aware of the beauty of the natural environment. 

The Summer Garden Triptych (our featured imagine) was designed intuitively, working with small remnants of dyed fabrics to create the impression of a walk through of a beautiful garden. This quilt in her Flower series, Bougainvillea II portrays the vibrancy  and flamboyance of the bougainvilleas.


American Quilt Society’s Best of Show

ARANDANO, Marilyn Badger, St. George, UT

Marilyn Badger was offered an award of $20,000 and will decide whether she will keep her quilt or accept the prize and donate the piece to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah.

She was quoted as saying, “This is unbelievable. I’ve been making quilts and entering them in contests since 2002, and this is the first quilt I’ve made just for myself with no intention of entering it anywhere.” “It was a year and a half therapy project. It’s the first one I’ve done like that, and I’ve been quilting since 1978.”


Attention to detail is evident in every aspect of this quilt. Arandano is Spanish for “blueberry” and the quilt is covered with hand­stitched blueberry shaped fabric appliqués and detailed embroidery.


Moda Fabrics Best Wall Quilt Award 2015

CHASING BUBBLES, Hiroko Miyama and Masanobu Miyama, Chofu, Tokyo, Japan

This quilt is a collaboration of Hiroko and her husband Masanobu Miyama. Japanese artist of applied art, Hiroko Miyama from Tokyo creates quilts mostly with the image of her children and dogs, whom she calls her treasures. The husband and wife both work on the quilt at the same time.

The process begins with a drawing, then a print of color design becomes applique pattern pieces. Next the selection of fabric, cutting fabric with sheet and ironing it, checking colors after patterns are removed and replacing pieces if the color doesn’t meet image. The final step is to assemble blocks. It all sounds so simple and yet it is astonishing to view! It is like a painting done with fabric! Every detail of the faces and skin, the way movement is created, are all done with little bits of fabric but that seems to disappear as you gaze with wonder at their life like creation.

BERNINA of America, Inc. Best Home Machine Workmanship Award 2015

RICKY AND LUCY, Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Sistek, Owensboro, Kentucky

Karen painted the birds on silk and Nancy quilted this award winning quilt.  They were inspired by a photo taken while they were on vacation. The details of the feathers fascinated them and they wanted to capture as much of it as they could in a quilt.

What’s cooking at your house? Probably different than what’s cooking with these ladies! Nancy built a steamer in her back yard as part of the variety of techniques they use to make their award winners!


Brother International Corporation Best Wall Home Machine Workmanship Award

A PASSION FOR PURPLE, Andrea Brokenshire, Round Rock, TX 2016

Andrea draws her inspiration from the natural world.“I try to express the essence of a flower with fabric. The curve of a petal, the vibrancy of color and the diversity of flora to me is sexy… beautiful. For me, the creative process is a journey as essential as breathing. An expression of self.  I am a professed technique junkie and always try to push myself to learn new skills.”

Sisters Pat Holly and Sue Nickels quilt “Two of Us” won Best Home Machine Workmanship at the 2014 American Quilters Society Show in Paducah. The quilt will now be part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.

Pat and Sue’s “The Space Quilt” was on display when we visited and we loved this history of space flight! This quilt won the 2003 International Association of Quilters Master of Machine Artistry Award and the 2004 American Quilt Society Machine Workmanship Award.

Ellen Anne Eddy‘s quilts are magical! The colors, shimmering as light catches the fabric and threads, holds you spell bound. She doesn’t limit her creations to the regular edges of the quilt. The birds, dragonflies, leaves, little bits of nature flow on and off the edges of the quilt, bringing it to life!

She is an internationally known fiber artist whose wall art goes beyond the traditional concept of quilting. Fish, bugs, birds, and frogs are found throughout her art, blending her dreams and vision with the natural world. She uses hand-dyed fabrics, lames, machine embroidery, cut-away applique, and layered sheers to create the illusion of flames, water, and mist in her work. “Dancing in the Light” is an amazing example of her unique approach to bobbin work.


Quilt making is not just for women! We had to go all the way to Kentucky to discover the beautiful quilt work of a fellow San Diegan! Mark Sherman has had a love of art, music  and nature since he was young. He has translated this love into quilt making, something he learned from his mother. Mark’s attention to detail is why he learned how to dye his own fabrics.


His first stained glass quilt “Wisteria” was inspired by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s stained glass windows, and is now part of the Permanent Founder’s  Collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.

I am not a quilter, I do not sew, but both David and I were fascinated by the beauty, detail and passion behind these quilts on display at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky! Don’t pass it up! You have to see it to appreciate it!

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