Barn Quilts: Chantilly Montessori Gallery Crawl Project

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.

 First known Barn Quilt, Adams County, Ohio. Donna Sue Groves, “Ohio Star” pattern

First known Barn Quilt, Adams County, Ohio. Donna Sue Groves, “Ohio Star” pattern

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.

 2' x 2' barn quilt, Christine Dryden

2' x 2' barn quilt, Christine Dryden

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.

  Chantilly Montessori Gallery Crawl, Mr. Corey Nutting's Class, 2015


Chantilly Montessori Gallery Crawl, Mr. Corey Nutting's Class, 2015

Some photos from our process:

Dryden barn quilt, 2010, ashe county, nc

Want to see more Barn Quilts in the wild?  Check out my pinterest page of some favorites, browse maps available at this informative site, or take a drive through the NC High Country

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!