By Brian Swartz
Weekly Staff Editor
BANGOR, Maine — Quilters galore converged on Sunbury Village Oct. 26 for the Bangor Bear Paw Quilt Show.
One hundred and eleven people attended the show, and an additional 21 quilters there to show their quilting art, said Sunbury Village Community Sales and Marketing Manager Deborah Wisdom.
The show’s highlights — more than 57 displayed quilts — were spread across two floors and hung from the atrium’s second- and third-floor railings. Made in different sizes, the colorful quilts varied in size from “First Snow,” a 12-by-14-inch quilt made by Randy Menninghaus, to the 80-by-65-inch “Moose Quilt,” made by Kathy Field and machine-quilted by Diane Hodgkins.
Terry Campbell displayed a 93-by-114-inch queen-sized quilt that she had crafted; Mary Anne Eason displayed her 7½-by-11½-inch “West Quoddy Head Light.”
Drawing its members from all over Bangor, Orono, Hampden and elsewhere, the Bear Paw Quilters is one of the oldest quilting groups in Maine, said exhibitor Nancy Small of Bangor. She demonstrated the use of a treadle machine.
The Bear Paw Quilters meet at Sunbury Village at 10 a.m., the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. The group has held its annual quilt show at other venues; according to Wisdom, “It’s the first time we’ve hosted the show.”
“It was quite an endeavor,” she said. “All the quilts had to be hung.” Quilters arrived Friday evening to set up for the show.
Renee Smith, enrichment coordinator at Sunbury Village, organized the show.
Sally Irons of Orono, who started quilting in 1986 or 1987, briefly talked about Persis Messer, a Bangor schoolteacher who was among Bear Paw Quilters’ founding members. “I knew who she was,” Irons said. “I had met her.”
“I’ve always liked quilts. They’re getting into more creative ones now, with landscapes and pictures,” Irons said.
Pier Carros of Ellsworth and Elizabeth Hall of Bar Harbor traveled to Bangor for the show. “I’ve been planning on it,” said Carros, who explained that this summer the friends decided to go to as many quilt shows as they could within an hour’s drive of Hancock County.
“We come to the shows, and we learn something,” Hall said.
“I’ve been quilting off and on for twenty years,” Carros said.
“I probably made my first quilt back in the ’70s,” Hall said as she watched Sue Randall of the Old Town-based Canoe City Quilters demonstrate paper piercing. “I became an active quilter in 1982. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that I like the most. I actually like all of it, beginning to end — the fabric, the artwork. You end up with a utility item, but it’s an artistic endeavor.”
Hall has sewn quilts for each of her five children and seven grandchildren. “Some of them two or three times,” she said.
For information about quilting in Maine, go to mainequilts.org. For information about Sunbury Village, go to sunburyvillage.net.