A sea of quilts, even 3-D

NEW ULM – Quilt enthusiasts got their fill and then some Saturday as a variety of Quiltistry events took place at several venues.

A biennial event with collaboration between the Prairie Piecemakers Guild, Brown County Historical Society Museum, the Wanda Gag House Association and New Ulm specialty shops, featured more than 250 quilts and a Tea and Trunk Show with a professional quilt appraiser, a three-dimension (3-D) interactive quilt presentation by a Windom quilt artist, an original Readers Theatre play with the New Ulm Actors Community Theatre (NUACT), antique and unique quilts, a kids class, and a folk art exhibit.

Some of the most unique exhibits were by Anna Johannsen, a Windom quilt artist who teaches art and independent living classes at Red Rock Ridge Alternative Learning Center in Windom. She also also teaches students with specific learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders.

You could call it quilt therapy.

Johannsen’s free workshop included how fabric folding and layering is used for three-dimensional types of traditional pieced quilt design blocks. She described how she uses shadow and texture to create depth in her colorful quilts. Her designs almost reach out and grab you when they are viewed with 3-D glasses.

“Even the quilt colors change when you add 3-D. My mantra is ‘what if?” Johannsen said. “What if I made that into a quilt? That’s my inspiration. Your eyes only see red, orange, yellow, green and blue indigo by themselves. It’s fun using new ideas to make my own designs. Adding different shapes and fabrics to 3-D quilts make them even more creative.”

She got the 3-D idea by having her art students wear 3-D glasses when coloring. The 3-D glasses aren’t same ones used for movie viewing. These are made for looking at bright colors, making them appear to pop out at you.

Johannsen makes 3-D quilts for her family. One she made for her granddaughter who is playing college basketball, had many orange basketballs on it plus other checkerboard and irregular, geometric shapes.

You have to see it to for yourself, with 3-D glasses, of course.

Maple Grove quilt appraiser and author Jean Carlton was the featured guest speaker at the Tea and Trunk Show at the Grand Center for Arts. Carlton wrote “Minnesota Quilts: Creating Connections With Our Past.”

Mary Ellen Domeier of New Ulm said quilting and belonging to the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild and attending their events is helping fulfill her life these days.

“The artistic talent demonstrated by quilt makers is so great,” Domeier said.

The Prairie Piecemakers is an organization of quilt lovers, novices and experts who share their love of fabric, design, color and the finished product.

Formed in 1994, the group originally had about 30 members. Now the organization has more than 80 members from New Ulm, Sleepy Eye, Lafayette, Gibbon, Courtland, Winthrop, Fairfax and Nicollet.

In addition to meetings at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 201 N State that include show and tell, other programs and a business meeting, the group meets and shares ideas with other quilters at retreats at the New Ulm Public Library, the Schoenstadt Sisters Retreat in Sleepy Eye. Members also attend sewing days and shop hopes in area quilt shops.

For more information, visit prairiepiecemakersquiltnewulmmn.org/

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com

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