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An ‘artists’ gallery’ on cloth

Local quilt group holding show at Northern Center

Judy Parlato, left, and Alice Johnson, members of the Marquette County Quilters’ Association, display the kinds of quilts that will be shown to the public at its Autumn Comforts Quilt Show on Oct. 19-20. The event will be at the Northern Center at Northern Michigan University. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Quilting historically has been a practical art, but quilts too can be appreciated for their intricate aesthetic quality.

To show off some of the top pieces in the region, the Marquette County Quilters’ Association is holding its 36th annual MCQA Autumn Comforts Quilt Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 in the ballroom at the Northern Center on Northern Michigan University’s campus. Admission is $5.

The event will include a drawing for the MCQA’s 2019 raffle quilt, “Northern Lights,” which will be at 3 p.m. Oct. 20.

Two longtime MCQA members, Judy Parlato of Gwinn and Alice Johnson of Marquette, are involved in the event, which will feature items ranging from antique vintage, traditional, modern and art quilts.

Johnson said the show has evolved over time, with quilts draped over the backs of chairs in the first effort.

This is an example of a variety of quilt that will be on display at the Oct. 19-20 Autumn Comforts Quilt Show at the Northern Center at Northern Michigan University. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

“It was nothing like it is now,” Johnson said.

What it is now is quite the spectacle.

“We have 300 quilts that are registered, and we have 13 vendors,” Parlato said. “The thing that is interesting about this is, it’s a new venue because they have improved the ballroom. We normally have the vendors in a separate room, but this year the vendors will be all around the display quilts.”

Johnson noted the quilts will be hung as opposed to being just laid down on a table.

“It’s easy viewing, like an artists’ gallery,” Johnson said.

Parlato said about half of the quilts will be judged, including a best of show winner, with the public having the chance to see all the award winners. The public also will be able to pick a Viewer’s Choice winner.

“These are not just bed quilt people,” Parlato said. “These are artisans.”

Judged and non-judged categories in the quilt show include: miniature quilt; small-, medium- and large-pieced; mixed-media art quilt; and quilt-related items, among many others, according to a show brochure at marquettequilters.org.

First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded in the categories, Johnson said.

Vendors will sell items, Parlato added.

“Some vendors put together kits, which are really nice, and so they have quilts on display for these kits very often,” Parlato said, although the quilts aren’t finished.

The show might be of interest to people even if they aren’t quilters or aren’t even interested in the activity.

“There’s a great variety of styles, great variety of subject matter, great variety of skill that you’re going to see,” Johnson said.

Parlato pointed out that quilters in the MCQA takes classes and attend shows throughout the United States.

“The quality of our show is top level,” Parlato said. “We work very, very hard. We have a very inclusive committee that does this, and we pay so much attention to detail that this is going to be a fabulous show, and people should come because they need to celebrate the art.”

Speaking of celebration, Parlato and Johnson will be honored as this year’s MCQA’s Hall of Fame inductees since they have been instrumental in various aspects of association activities and community-service endeavors for many years.

For more information, visit marquettequilters.org or its Facebook page.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.