Quilt National ’23 showcases the world’s best in quilts

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ATHENS, Ohio — The Dairy Barn Arts Center has opened its biennial Quilt National showcase.

The gallery walls are lined with over 80 different quilts of every shape, size and color, represented by artists from 13 countries. A quilted jacket and a chunk of tree bark are among the most unique quilts. Another that couldn’t escape notice glows in its corner of the gallery — literally. The white quilt appears very colorful with its backing LED lights.

An exhibition attendee admires this unique quilt | Photo: Ahmed Hamed
This quilt depicts the many people you may run into on the New York subway | Photo: Ahmed Hamed
This featured quilt is a deconstruction of a traditional striped quilt | Photo: Ahmed Hamed
This attendee observes the blue and white quilt in front of her | Photo: Ahmed Hamed
This quilt depicts a large village fire, inspired by the war in Ukraine | Ahmed Hamed
Exhibition attendees walk past this colorful quilt | Photo: Ahmed Hamed
An exhibition attendee admires the vortex of a quilt in front of her | Photo: Ahmed Hamed
An exhibition attendee looks at the contemorary quilt towering above her | Photo: Ahmed Hamed

The passion of the featured quilters is woven into their work. Quilter Jen Broemel said the quilt she made during quarantine is inspired by the chaos of the time.

“I’ve sort of figured out that this meditative stitching is a way for me to process the craziness,” said Broemel.

Fellow artist Carson Converse said her featured quilt is about living with simplicity in the bigness of the world.

“For me, this series of quilts is about perspective,” Converse said. “That I’m a small, little piece, and there’s a much bigger universe and a lot going on.”

Both artists expressed the necessity of seeing the quilts in person to properly experience their artistry.

“They’re all amazing and you really can’t understand the complexity of the quilts unless you see them in person,” said Converse. “There’s just so much texture and color and subtlety that’s happening.”

Broemel agrees. “I think art is what the world needs more of,” she said. “People should come and see all the quilts. … It’s very important.”

If you’re interested in seeing the Quilt National gallery, it’s on exhibition until Sept. 11.