Quilters, watercolor artists team up to create unusual exhibit for biennial quilt show

Anna Picklo, left, and Betty Bloomquist display their work for the North Star Quilters Guild biennial quilt show Friday and Saturday at the Alerus Center. The show features an exhibit of watercolor artwork inspired by quilts. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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North Star Quilters Guild has teamed up with the River Forks Watercolor Society to present a show that features quilts that are paired with watercolor artworks.

The guild’s show, “Quilting on the Red Quilt,” runs Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26, at the Alerus Center.

The guild, which has about 150 members, hosts the show once every two years.

This challenge is a reverse of the one they hosted two years ago when quilters were asked to create quilts inspired by watercolor art.

“People were delighted by it,” said Jolene Mikkelson, a member of the North Star Quilters Guild. “It turned into something really special.”


This year, the quilts were made first, Mikkelson said.

Earlier this year, the quilts were on display for a month at The Ember in downtown Grand Forks and watercolorists were invited to select a quilt that inspired them and then create a watercolor art piece based on it.

“We have close to 30 pairings” of artist and watercolorist, as compared to 18 pairings two years ago, Mikkelson said.

Betty Bloomquist, a Grand Forks watercolorist, chose four quilts that were created by four of her friends, she said.

The connection she had with each quilter made the project “extremely personal,” she said. The four, 18-inch-square watercolor works she created are “direct copies” of quilts by Mikkelson, Anna Picklo, Pam Davis and Bonnie Solberg, Bloomquist said.

Other artists may have taken the idea of the quilt as starting point or inspiration and went off from there, she said.

Bloomquist also participated in the challenge two years ago, “when (the quilters) chose us; it was all accidental,” she said. This year, she saw her friends’ quilts “and, I thought, I can do that -- I liked their pieces too.”

During the quilt show, more than 240 quilts for judging will be on display, created by quilters from this area and elsewhere around the country, including Connecticut, Montana, California and Minneapolis-St. Paul, organizers say.


At noon Friday, Maribeth Schmit, correspondent docent for the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C., will present a trunk show, “A Quarter Century of Quilts,” featuring nearly 40 quilts and quilt tops that reflect various quilting techniques.

It’s an opportunity to view many Blue Ribbon and Best of Show award-winning quilts, organizers say.

Schmit will also give a special presentation, “Masterpiece Quilts from the DAR Museum Collection,” at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Schmit, who lives in Cedarburg, Wis., and will serve as a show judge.

Her presentation will highlight quilts that represent the time span from 1750 to 1940. Because the DAR is a genealogical-based organization, the quilts are accompanied by histories and explanations of their place of origin.

Other guest speakers include Sharyn Resvick who, in her lecture, “Threads of Time,” at 3 p.m. Friday, will show a series of small quilts that represent many styles from the last 200 years.

Each has a story to tell, she said, from the first medallion quilts of the early 1800s to the Depression-era quilts of the early 1900s to the sampler quilts that gained popularity after the second quilt revival of the 1970s to today’s modern quilts.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Colleen Carlson will present a talk, “A Pattern Is Just a Suggestion,” which covers how to make adjustments to patterns and pictures.


Small steps to large leaps will explained in the slides and with quilts, organizers say.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, Pam Dinndorf will give a talk, “Parallel Lines: Exploiting the Powerful Potential of Stripes.”

Stripes are full of potential to demand attention, portray movement, organize layouts and create lifelong fans, Dinndorf said.

She’ll show examples of quilts which exhibit successful implementation of stripes as well as address quilters’ concerns about cutting striped material and accessing striped fabrics.

The two-day quilt show also features a silent auction, raffles and activities to stimulate kids’ interest in quilting.

The guild is also donating more than 200 quilts to foster children in this area, Mikkelson said. “It’s kind of our mission.”

Admission to the quilt show is $8 for a single day or $12 for two days. Admission to Schmit’s lecture is $12. Children under 12 are admitted free of charge.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Alerus Center is at 1200 42nd St. S.

For more information, visit .

Related Topics: ART
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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