By JB Clark
TUPELO – One of the standout showing members at the GumTree Quilters Guild bed-turning event Saturday also happened to be the youngest member.
Jessica Burton, 28, of Tupelo, made her first quilt in college for a friend who was having a baby.
“I went to the local bookstore, found a book on quilting and made her a baby quilt,” she said. “I gave it away, too, so now I don’t have to look at the mistakes I made.”
She has now been quilting for almost 10 years and said it is a way she can relax and feel fulfilled at the same time.
“I’m an anal-retentive control freak and one thing about quilting is you get to be in control of a lot of things,” she said. “It’s very detail oriented and there is a satisfaction when you’re finished with something and your corners match up. It’s great therapy.”
Burton joined the guild after moving to Tupelo from Okmulgee, Okla.
After a rough day, Burton will go to her studio and work with the fabrics to put a smile on her face. “It’s almost a sickness, but it’s really wonderful,” she said.
Many of the women at the GumTree Quilters Guild bed-turning described quilting as an addictive hobby.
Lynn Blaylock said the guild is a way for quilters around the region with similar quilting “addictions,” to learn from each other and inspire each other.
Burton said being the youngest in the group provides her with a lot of inspiration.
“It’s fantastic because all of these people have years and years of experience,” she said. “And, it’s challenging because I look at some of the stuff Karen Ashbury or Lynn Blaylock do – and they’ve been doing it since they were little – and think,
‘Oh my gosh, I have to be as good as they are,’ so it really drives me to do my best.”
Denise Backstrom, like Burton, began quilting for practical reasons and has since fallen in love with the art.
“The very first quilt I made was a very simple quilt because my freshman year of college the dorm was cold,” Backstrom said. “I took big squares I had and made a quilt from that.”
Now she makes quilts for family members who graduate from high school and enjoys the craft because it is a way to express herself by “playing with color.”
Saturday’s bed-turning event at All Saints’ Episcopal Church featured almost 100 quilts owned or made by members of the guild.
“A long time ago people didn’t have a lot of storage space so they would lay their finished quilts on the bed in a guest room,” Marcelle Bethany said of the tradition. “When all the ladies would come in, they would want to see quilts so she would take them in the bedroom and turn them back one at a time.”