All Sewn Up

This Month's "Quilts in Paradise" Goes Beyond the Expected

The show features artistic creations that are inspired by Sarasota sights.

By Kay Kipling March 1, 2017 Published in the March 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Quilts are a long-established form of creative expression, but the ones on view at Robarts Arena March 3 and 4 are a bit different from traditional star or log cabin patterns.

Members of the Friendship Knot Quilters Guild—more than 300 members strong—set out to make “Surprising Sarasota” quilts for this show, titled Quilts in Paradise. These are quilts meant to be hung on a wall, says Guild member Pam Zeck, unlike many of the quilters’ usual efforts, which range from providing blankets for children going home from neonatal units to “chemo quilts” for those undergoing treatment to “cop quilts” that comfort victims of domestic abuse in police cars.

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For the show’s “challenge” quilts, 24 inches by 24 inches in size, the artists at work found inspiration in such Sarasota sights as the Unconditional Surrender statue, the Van Wezel “purple cow” performing arts hall, people-watching at the beach or our spectacular sunsets. “Typically, there’s more use of black and white and of negative space,” in these art quilts, according to Zeck. “But there’s a little bit of color, too.”

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The quilts will be judged at the show, both by experts and by the audience, and ribbons will be awarded. But beyond the recognition, and even beyond the pleasure of creation, lies a network of people who have bonded over quilts. Guild members frequently take classes to improve their skills, welcome newcomers and share a close camaraderie when working together on their projects. Quilting, says Zeck, “is the most satisfying of all hobbies.”

To learn more about the Robarts Arena show and the guild, visit

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