Crazy quilts on display in town

John Akal, Avenue Flashes
Posted

As January arrives, the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has been running through my head a lot, particularly after the sun goes down and the temperature drops into the single digits. It’s that time of year when a fireplace looks particularly inviting, and snuggling up in a chair with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate might be a favorite way to spend an evening.

But it’s not complete until you find a warm blanket or quilt to pull around you, is it? I’m sure a lot of our readers have a special quilt that they use on these cold winter nights, and some may even make their own or have a parent or grandparent who makes them. Quilting has been an art that often times goes unnoticed, but is appreciated very much on these cold winter nights and right here in Golden we have an excellent place to find out more about it, learn to do it or even buy some extraordinary examples.

It’s the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, 1213 Washington Ave., right downtown. Now, I’m a guy who is lucky to be able to sew a button back on my shirt, so seeing how intricate the work and detail is on some of these quilts is always fascinating to me. There is something kind of magical about seeing what another person can do with seemingly little scraps of cloth all sewn together that somehow create a wonderful design or picture. Of course they aren’t just scraps, and there is a lot of thought and design that goes into these quilts, not to mention artistic integrity that the best quilters bring to the table, and seeing them in a museum is quite impressive.

This month the museum is featuring a special show called Crazy Quilts, Victorian Fancies and Beyond which also features Crazy Quilts and Everyday Life: Photographs from the collection of Janet Finley.

So what are Crazy Quilts? They are the first American art quilts that were made for beauty, not just warmth. They really show off the skills that Victorian women had with a needle and thread and some of these quilts date back more than 100 years. The rare photo collection shows people actually using these quilts and gives a good insight into what life was like back when a hand made quilt was a prized possession.

This exhibit is running daily through Jan. 19. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for Seniors and $4 for Students. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.

Opening on Jan. 28 is Surface Explorations: Cynthia Charles. She is an award-winning quilter from Billings Montana and her work is extraordinary. It features hand-dyed, discharged, hand-painted and hand stamped fabrics that she combines into creations that show how a true artist can work in this medium. Her solo show will run until April 22.

For more information about these shows or if you are interested in learning how to make quilts yourself go to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museums website at www.rmqm.org or give them a call at 303-277-0377. They even have a Quilt Market with all kinds of interesting handcrafted items as well as books and yes, quilts!

So, stay warm and cozy this winter. We’ll all be complaining about the 90-degree heat soon enough, won’t we?

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production.

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