Keeping the art of quilting alive in Vernon Parish

LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - For more than two decades, the ladies of the Slagle Quilting Club have met at the Slagle Senior Center to practice a dying art, mostly by hand.

The ladies of the Slagle Quilting Club stand in front of their exhibit at Gallery One Ellleven in Leesville, which opens July 12th. (KALB)

"When I was about 8 years old I started learning how to thread a needle. I had to learn that first!" said Cathleen Bolton, the club's most senior quilter.

This week their work will decorate the walls of Gallery One Eleven in Leesville. Bolton said her family quilted out of necessity growing up.

"When we were kids, we would look at the pieces of material in there and we knew who had a dress or a skirt or an apron," she said. "I was born in 1931 and back then that was the only cover we had."

It became a passion and Bolton hasn't put the needle down since.

"It's an addicting thing," she said. "You've got this pile of scraps that most people would throw away. We give them to our children, our grandchildren. We make all the new babies a quilt and things like this so I think it's a labor of love."

Juanita Bolton has been quilting for about 25 years and said that labor is what brings people to the clubs door.

"We've got quilts scattered all over the united states I think," she said. "It just shows how you can put together different materials to make a treasure out of it. It's just a joy to see how products turn out and a feeling of accomplishing something."

Each quilt has a story to tell and it doesn't end with the last stitch.

"You carry part of your mom with you, you carry your great grandma with you," said club member Cathy Streiff. "You know that they've touched that quilt. You know the hands that have been on it and of course, those hands were on you, hugging you, loving you. That's what the sentimental value to me is to pass it on to the next generation."

The exhibit and demonstrations start at Gallery One Eleven Thursday, July 12th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday's for two weeks at the same time. Quilts displayed on the walls are not for sale but some draped over stands will be available for purchase.

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