One of my most favorite times of the year is the six weeks when I work with the children of Chantilly Montessori to prepare an art project for Chantilly's Annual Gallery Crawl. This fantastic cultural enrichment project pairs a parent-artist with each classroom to create original works of art to be displayed at a Gallery Crawl celebration, this year on March 10, 2015.
This year I worked with an Upper-Elementary class of 4th and 5th graders to create barn quilts. The Barn Quilt Trail Movement began in 2001 in Adams County, OH, as a community folk art project celebrating the heritage and artistry of quilting. These graphic, painted squares can be found hanging on the sides of barns, homes and businesses in the mountains of NC and throughout the rural United States and Canada. With over 7000 known quilt squares and popularity growing rapidly, this the largest grassroots public art movement in history.
For this project, we talked about the history of the Barn Quilt Movement, studied examples of barn quilt and other historical quilt patterns, used math skills to design our own squares and scale them to larger boards, and then painted our own original 1' quilt squares in exterior latex paint.
The result is this beautiful, creative collection of squares that we'll display together a this week's Gallery Crawl. The students will take their blocks home to hang on the walls of their own sheds, treehouses, or bedroom walls, bringing the quilt trail to our own urban community.
Some photos from our process:
My first barn quilt project was this 4' square for family in West Jefferson, painted in 2010. Their house sits on the old N&W rail bed. I've been itching to explore this art form further ever since!