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October 11, 2013

Show features quilts, pottery and woodwork

JOHNSTOWN — Over the next few weeks, people will have access to a wonderful collection of handmade quilts.

“Quilts & Other Home Furnishings” is on display at Art Works in Johnstown!, 413 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

The show features the quilts of Barbara Yerger of Westmont along with pottery by Helen Gorsuch of Altoona and woodworkings by Terrence Werner of Johnstown.

The works will be on view through Nov. 2.

Theresa Gay Rohall, arts center executive director, said this will be Yerger’s first show in the area.

“She has entered some of her quilts individually into competitions in the eastern part of the state and has won blue ribbons and Best of Show,” Rohall said.

Yerger prefers to make quilts using an applique style.

Applique is an ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn onto a large piece of fabric to form pictures or patterns.

“I find applique easier to do,” said Yerger, who traces her quilting roots to the time she was in nursing school and picked up a quilt-making kit at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia.

She later married her husband, Jack, and the couple have three sons.

“We had them pretty close together, so I stopped quilting and concentrated on being a wife and mother,” she said. “Now that I’m older, I went back to quilting and found a great hobby.”

Yerger uses old techniques such as ruching and trapunto, techniques that produce a puffy, decorative feature; and embroidery and the new methods of fabric manipulation gives her quilts dimensions.

She gives much of the credit for her success to her relationship with an Amish family.

“They used to live in the Salisbury and Grantsville, Md., areas,” she said. “When Emma (the matriarch) died, I continued working with her daughter and granddaughter, who have since relocated to Indiana and Illinois.”

She relies on the Amish women who hand quilt her tops. Amish quilting continues to be prized, especially with the advent of machine quilting.

“I have formed a good relationship with them and found the Amish to be wonderful, caring and talented people,” Yerger said.

She sends the women the top, filling and bottom to have them quilt finished.

“They do the intricate stitching, which brings out the design and detail of each quilt,” Yerger said.

She has made everything from baby quilts to one that would cover a queen-sized bed.

She will show about 15 quilts that she made and are on loan from people who obtained them.

Yerger’s love of nature and gardening are evident in many of the subjects she chooses for her quilts.

She likes doing other tasks such as needlepoint, pillows, rugs and chair coverings.

“I have three sons and a husband and they all wear needlepoint belts that I have made,” she said.

All three artists in the exhibit are self-taught and share a love a nature, which is reflected in their work.

“Everyone should come out to see the love and caring that each of these artists bring to their medium,” Rohall said. “People will be inspired.”

Gorsuch’s ceramic works are often satirical comments on human behavior.

She designs and hand-builds a limited number of sculptures each year.  The artist describes her anthropomorphic creations as “colorful, whimsical, and fun.”

Werner has dabbled in a variety of media and found his love of wood a highlight for his career.

“He loves the feel of wood, the quietness of hand tools and being able to bring his love of nature into his works,” Rohall said.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. All three artisans will be on hand to talk about their work.

In conjunction with the show, Art Works is raffling two handmade quilts. Both quilts are designed and created by Yerger and quilted by an Amish woman.

The handmade quilts are on display at Art Works.

The winners of the quilts will be drawn at Art Works on Nov. 9.

Information: 535-2020.

Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.

On display

What: “Quilts & Other Home Furnishings.”

Where: Art Works in Johns-

town!, 413 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

When: Through Nov. 2.

Opening reception: From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Admission: Free.

Information:  535-2020.

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