Over the weekend, I swapped my home base rolling Appalachian hills for another set of rolling Appalachian hills – those of Athens, Ohio. Thanks to the presence of Ohio University, Athens has the atmosphere of a funky, revitalized old-neighborhood section of a major city. I was fortunate to be a vendor at the first Quilt Fest at the Dairy Barn Arts Center. Welcome to all of those who shopped my booth!
I love the Dairy Barn not only because it is a novel reuse of an old building, but also because it is just beautiful. Much of the original brick paving is intact on the lane leading to the barn and around the structure.
I’m envisioning a series exploring a single print design on rectangles of fabric in various shades of one color. I’ve said it before, I can find inspiration in almost anything, even a brick road.
The Dairy Barn was part of the Athens State Hospital, the full history can be found here. There is a graveyard atop a nearby hill were patients are buried. I took a walk there, climbing 89 steps (give or take a few) to the top of the hill. Cicadas and crickets sang a constant chorus, and a gentle breeze revived me as I reached the top. I actually enjoy exploring old cemeteries, and I always wonder about the lives of the individuals as I read the names on the gravestones. In this case, the mysteries are even deeper, considering the unifying tie that bound all of the graves there.
Getting back to the present, I’d like to recommend a few places to eat in Athens, should you venture there to visit: Avalanche Pizza, Purple Chopstix and Fluff Bakery. I anticipate returning in future for future editions of Quilt National, and hopefully, teaching some classes soon.