Local women win in regional quilt competition

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two women with ties to Pike County have been named winners in the Alabama Rural Electric Association’s annual quilt competition.

Melodie Lauer of Brundidge and Carol Glayre, a member of the Pioneer Quilters at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, were among the 25 Alabama quilters who were honored for their contributions to the art and for their outstanding craftsmanship.

Chellie Phillips, South Alabama Electric Cooperative members’ services coordinator, said the annual competition attracts a large number of entries from North Alabama to the Gulf Coast and a winner is selected from each of the Alabama Rural Electric Association areas.

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Lauer is the winner from the South Alabama Electric Cooperative area and Glayre from the Pea River Cooperative (Ozark) area.

After deciding to retire to the South, Lauer and her husband, John, moved to Brundidge from Pennsylvania three years ago.

“When I first thought about the theme for the competition, Small Town Alabama, what came to mind about small town Alabama was its churches,” Lauer said. “My square is of an old-style church with white clapboards. There’s a road beside it and the words, ‘Faith, Family, Friends.’ That’s what small town Alabama is to me.”

Glayre’s square also includes a church and a city hall, school and children at play with a heart as the background.

“Small towns are the heart of Alabama,” Glayre said.

Phillips said that quilt making was common in America during the late 18th century and most quilts were made of left over scraps or worn clothing as bedcovering.

“Quilt making continues to be popular today, often as decorative art, rather than to keep feet warm at night,” Phillips said. “To celebrate the art of quilting, the AREA sponsors an annual quilt competition and each year the theme is different. This year’s theme was ‘Small Town Alabama’ in recognition of the contributions that small towns make to the state — everything from entertainment to the economy.”

Quilters are invited to submit a 12-inch quilt square for judging that highlights the theme for the year. The quilt squares can be the old fashioned, hand stitched kind or embroidered, appliquéd or machine stitched.

“How the square is done depends solely on the quilter,” Phillips said. “Quilting a single square makes it easier for more people to participate and, when the winners are selected, the squares are put together and quilted. Each winner will receive a plaque with a photograph of the quilt. The quilt is then displayed at each of the AREA cooperatives.

The 2011 AREA quilt will be on display at South Alabama Electric Cooperative October 24 through 28.

The 2011 AREA “Small Town Alabama” quilt is traveling to all AREA cooperatives and will be on display at South Alabama Electric Cooperative Oct. 24-28.

The quilt will be on permanent display at the Alabama Rural Heritage Center in Thomaston.