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Quilt exhibit offers a kaleidoscope of colors

POSTED: June 9, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Tom Reed DCN regional staff/

A quilt by Elizabeth Smith called "Find the Pairs."

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Quilts can tell a story.


Janice Chesnik, president of the Heart in Hand Quilt Guild in Dawsonville, said her quilts are the result of a former career and a current passion combined.


“I was a kaleidoscope maker. For almost 30 years, I made kaleidoscopes as my living. My husband and I and my son did that and sold them all over the country,” Chesnik said. “Then when my husband and I retired, I just went nuts with the quilting. I just love doing it and that’s what I do now.”


It was a book about kaleidoscope quilts — quilts with patterns and colors similar to what you’d see if you looked through a kaleidoscope — that got Chesnik interested in quilting.


“You know when you look into a kaleidoscope, the image you see at the end of this round thing with all the different colors? Well, that’s what happens on the kaleidoscope quilt,” she said.


Chesnik’s kaleidoscope quilts will be on display at the Bowen Center for the Arts in Dawsonville as part of “Putting the Pieces Together,” a quilt show featuring the quilters of the Heart in Hand Quilt Guild.


About 100 quilts will be on display at the center through June 26, and many of them are “puzzle quilts,” in keeping with the show’s theme.


“A puzzle quilt is where you take one block and make it twice in the same quilt, and you may do six or eight blocks of that type,” Chesnik said.


“You’d make them so differently that you can’t recognize the two blocks as being the same. You use different fabrics, different colors and so on. And that’s why we call it a puzzle quilt, because the puzzle is to try to figure out where the mate is,” she said.


The guild, which includes members from Dawson, Lumpkin, Hall and Forsyth counties, meets regularly to “learn to quilt better,” she said. But part of its mission is to create quilts for foster children.


“There are about 35 members in our guild, close to 40 sometimes,” she said. “I would say we probably do about 25 to 30 quilts for foster children [yearly].”


Marcia Chelf, director of the Bowen Center for the Arts, said the guild’s annual shows are among the center’s most popular.


“It’s one of our very best ones,” said Chelf. “There [are] a lot of quilters in the area.”


Chelf said several of the quilts will be for sale at the show.


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