Dayton landmarks captured in quilts

If you haven’t seen the the Dayton Landmarks Exhibit on display at Aullwood Audubon Center, you’ve missed an interesting look at our town and some of its best-known buildings.

“It’s the story of our city in quilts,” says Carroll Schleppi, a member of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network, the organization that came up with the colorful show.

You’ll see historic icons ranging from the Old Courthouse and The Carillon to the Arcade, the Dayton Art Institute, the University of Dayton chapel and Fifth Third Field.

What’s special about this exhibit is the way these quilts were created and displayed — first photos by member Ronnie Doyal of Dayton were taken of each site, then that the image was “sliced” into pieces and assigned to various quilters.

“Each quilter did her own slice of the whole,” explains Schleppi, who is from Kettering. “Other than checking with one another to make certain the horizontal lines matched up, we didn’t see each other’s work until we were finished.”

The results are fascinating — in some instances the color palettes are dramatically different for different “slices” of the picture. All of the quilts — and the photographs that accompany each of them — are for sale.

The original idea

The idea was first brought to the organization by member Lisa Broberg Quintana of Troy who’d seen something similar at a quilt show elsewhere, and urged her Dayton quilting group to attempt it here.

“Lisa spearheaded the project, prodded everyone when needed, blogged a critique of each panel and inspired all,” says Schleppi who says her friend died Oct. 6, 2013 after a twenty-year fight with breast cancer. “She continues to inspire members to stretch our artistic muscles.” The exhibit is dedicated to Lisa’s memory.

Although parts of the exhibit have been on display at the Schuster Center and the downtown Dayton Metro Library, this is the first time all of the quilts are being exhibited in one place. After leaving Aullwood, a group of them will will travel to two local churches.

“We consider ourselves artists who work in fiber,” Schleppi explains. The group, which has been around for almost 40 years, currently has 15 to 20 quilters.

For the current project, Schleppi says participants were given a lot of creative freedom.

“For example, if you look at the Wright Brothers’ hats on the bench, you’ll see that the artist who did it — Joan Sterr of Springfield — chose fabric that has neon polka dots in it,” Schleppi explains. “Now who would ever have thought of using that for bricks? And on the other side, artist Debra Bentley of Yellow Springs couldn’t find fabric she liked so she photographed her bathroom tile and printed that on fabric for the slate!”

The assignments were done by lottery, though members were free to negotiate for a “slice” they wanted.

Pam Giesel of Yellow Springs, for example, opted for the photo called “Industrial Dayton.”

“It was taken from Woodland Cemetery — you can see part of Mendelsons, part of St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. John’s Lutheran and the fountains in the background,” says Schleppi. “Pam picked her ‘slice’ because there is graffiti on one of the buildings and she wanted to do the graffiti.”

Prices for the quilts range from $250 to $500 and include all of the slices of the quilt. Though most of the quilts have two or three panels, the skyline of Dayton quilt incorporates seven panels and is 10-feet long.

The photographs are also for sale, priced from $40 to $70. As you might imagine, many of the photos and quilts have now been spoken for. All monies raised will be donated Aullwood and other area charities.

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