You never know when a simple idea will turn into a movement. That’s the case for Donna Sue Groves when she decided to combine her two passions of barns and quilting. To add some color to her dull rural tobacco farm in Ohio, she hung a wooden square, painted to look like a traditional quilt, on her barn. Fast forward 15 years and you’ll find these unique quilts in almost 40 States and parts of Canada in what Donna Sue calls “The Barn Quilt Trail.”
A barn quilt is an 8-foot square (or larger) replica of actual fabric quilt blocks, installed on barns and other rural buildings. Its purpose – to add some color to the landscape and entice tourists to get off the highways and explore the roads less traveled. The quilts draw attention to unmarked historical places and otherwise forgotten townships and hidden gems.
Barn quilts made their Canadian debut in Ontario in 2009 and their BC debut last year in Armstrong. North Okanagan Shuswap Barn Quilt Trail unveiled the first phase of barn quilts on May 15th of last year. It featured 6 barn quilts, with 6 more added in the fall. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, they plan to debut approximately 17 more barn quilts, one of which will be featured on the silo at Davison Orchards. Dora Davison, an avid quilter, chose the pattern, added the centre apple, and calls the creation ‘Apple Cider.’ “A big thank you to the Armstrong Chamber volunteers for painting the quilt block. We are thrilled to be a part of this new initiative and look forward to helping showcase the Barn Quilt Trail in our area.” says Tamra Davison.