Folk art collector and artist Sheila McConnell was selected to be one of four featured artists at the first Decatur ArtWorks event on Friday, May 3, 2019, 7 p.m. to 9 a.m., at Decatur CoWorks.

McConnell’s favorite pastime is taking road trips and exploring the hidden treasures among rural landscapes. While on a trip to her Kentucky birthplace a few years ago, she discovered paintings of classic quilt patterns hanging on old, weathered barns. This sparked her interest in preserving the history of quilt patterns passed down by previous generations.  

“As a folk art collector, I have long admired the quilts handcrafted by generations of women living in Gees Bend, Alabama, an isolated community on the property of the Pettway Plantation,” said McConnell. Descendants of former slaves have resided in the area since the late 1800’s, and each new generation is taught the skill of quilt making.

“Patterns may share the same names as traditional quilts, but Gees Bend quilts speak to me with their undulating shapes, artful play of brilliant colors, and whimsical forms,” McConnell said. She chose to honor those artisans by creating her own barn quilts inspired by their modern designs.

“The celebration and fusion of two distinct and diverse cultures characterizes the diversity in which I live my life and create my art,” McConnell added.

Decatur ArtWorks is a partnership between Decatur CoWorks and local artists to spark creativity and support arts in the community. There is no charge for the event, but voluntary donations will support the Public Art Fund in Decatur. For more information and to register, click HERE.