More than 40 Patrick County families, businesses and organizations have put up decorative barn quilts on their property, and a Reynolds Homestead project has created a directory to see them.
The Patrick County Barn Quilt Trail will be opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday on Main Street in Stuart. The Barn Quilt Trail also is supported by Clark Gas & Oil, the Town of Stuart and Patrick County Tourism.
A barn quilt follows the flavor of a quilting square but is painted onto a square of plywood of any size, but often 3 or 4 feet square. Barn quilts are mounted onto sides of barns, houses or other structures.
Several businesses that have barn quilts will have refreshments and special events between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday: Stanburn Winery, Reynolds Homestead, Country Cupboard and Poppy’s.
Barn quilts on the Trail are visible from the road; people are asked not to go onto homeowner’s properties.
Planning for the barn quilt trail was started in April 2018 as an AIR Shift project, according Lisa Martin Reynolds Homestead’s senior program manager. The committee started recruiting for people who would make and display barn quilts.
Lauren Byron of Stokes County, N.C., taught barn-quilting classes at the Creative Art Center in Stuart and the Spencer-Penn Centre, Martin said.
Each class lasted 4 hours and provided all supplies, including the plywood squares. Before each class, students would send in their designs and desired square sizes. Prepared boards with each custom design outlined were provided at the start of class. The class fee ranged from $30 to $100, depending on the size desired.
The pressure-treated plywood for each barn quilt is primed before painted and painted with exterior semi-gloss paint.
The Reynolds Homestead will teach a barn class workshop at 1-5 p.m. June 25 at the Creative Arts Center. To register, call 276-694-7181.
The Reynolds Homestead has been planning partnerships with barn-trail projects in Stokes County and Henry County, she said.
“Since we’ve had the classes and gotten people involved … they’re crazy about it,” Martin said.
On the registration forms, Barn Quilt Trail participants explained the significance of the designs they chose.
Hylton and Debbie Tatum chose Cardinal Red” in honor of Fleming and Louise Ross, the original owners of their house, using the cardinal in its role as Virginia’s state bird, adding that it “is symbolic of power, wealth, and enthusiasm.”
Robert Reynolds wrote that he chose his Initialed Star design because his “friend has one in her front window uptown, and my wife and I really liked it.”
Melissa Martin named her square “Remembering Granny” in honor of a quilt her grandmother made for her when she was a toddler.
Ann McConnell did not commit to a single barn-quilt design: “I will be displaying a different barn quilt with the changing seasons and holidays. Cruise by to see what’s next!”
Flyers and a website were expected to be ready by the launch on Memorial Day weekend, but so many people joined in at the last minute that they have been delayed until July, to be redone to include all participants, Martin said.
To join the Patrick County Barn Quilt Trail, visit www.reynoldshomestead.vt.edu and download an application.
AIR Shift is a program started in Colorado and recently debuted at Virginia Tech, Reynolds Homestead Assistant Program Coordinator Sarah Wray said. The Reynolds Homestead in Patrick County is Virginia Tech’s pilot site.
AIR Shift is a 3-day workshop that has a curriculum built around bringing together artists and business people … a cross-sector of individuals to work on some kind of community development project,” Wray said.
Groups work together to create a proposal for a project that benefits the area through tourism or economic development, and a business plan to implement the idea. If accepted, the groups receive up to $10,000 in funding from Virginia Tech.
The barn quilt trail was one of three projects proposed during the spring 2018 workshop. The other two are a Rise and Shine Youth Farmers Market and Trail Hands, an art installation project on area trails. The funds were split between the three.
Meanwhile, new AIR Shaft projects have been planned for the upcoming year, including a community garden for a food bank and a mobile history wagon or truck to visit communities.