Dicy McCullough: Barn quilts brighten landscape

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

I had heard of barn quilts before and knew they usually were on barns, but I wasnít sure why or how they were made. That was until I talked with Hope Cline. Hope was eager to talk with me in-between customers at her booth during the PAPA Tractor and Engine Show this past summer in Mocksville.
Barn quilts have their origins from Adams County, Ohio. It all started when Donna Sue Groves had a quilt pattern from one of her motherís quilts painted on a family barn. The tradition caught on and now has spread across the country. Barn quilts can be painted most anywhere, but usually are found on barns. One reason someone might want a barn quilt is to bring business into an area that might not otherwise have much traffic. People often travel to see the quilt and then stop to shop at local stores. If a quilt is on a local quilt trail, a map is made available with details of the location. Hope now has one of hers on the Iredell Barn Quilt Trail.
Hope learned about barn quilts quite by accident and found painting them has become a way for her to make extra money. Joey Cline is Hopeís husband and the owner of Clineís Tractor Repair Shop just outside Mocksville. His business has struggled over the last few years because of the poor economy, so Hope had been looking for a way to help him with finances. When she learned about painting barn quilts, it didnít take long to realize this could be a way.
For the last 13 years, Hope and Joey have been restoring their 1927 house to its original design. Last year they decided to hire someone to put the metal roof on their house. While working in the garden, they saw the roofer coming towards them apologizing. He said he was sorry, but he had stepped through the ceiling of the sewing room and split six of the boards. After some time and much thought, the decision was made that the hole in the ceiling would become the place for the attic door. Hope used her creativity and painted a quilt pattern on the door to match the pattern on curtains that were to hang in the room. The pattern was a bright yellow sunburst. Joy Dowell, Hopeís sister said, ěThe first time I walked in the room it was like a burst of sunshine from outdoors. Everything was dark, except for that, and it just looked beautiful.î
Soon after the attic door was painted, Hopeís sister-in-law, Gina Cline, came for a visit. When she saw the artwork, she said to Hope, ěI didnít know you painted barn quilts.î Hope asked, ěWhatís a barn quilt?î The seed was planted. Gina loved what Hope had done so much she asked her to paint one for her barn. Hope now has a business painting barn quilts and is excited about her new-found passion and the possibilities that lie ahead.
Hope has always been artistic and at one time had dreamed of making art her profession. Until recently, it seemed that dream had died. Fortunately, the seed was replanted not only through Gina, but also through a friend who reminded her, ěGod gives us gifts to be used.î
Hope plans to continue using her artistic gifts and would like to see more barn quilt trails in the state. If interested in learning about barn quilts or starting a trail, Hope can be reached at 336-492-5942. Info about the Iredell County Barn Quilt Trail can be found at taprootartisans.com.

Dicy McCullough is a childrenís author who lives in Rowan County. Contact her at 704-278-4377 or her website, dicymcculloughbooks.com.