Appreciating workmanship

Guests from in and out of the area gathered to appreciate the exquisitely crafted quilts at the 17th Annual Patchwork Quilters Jamboree last week. 

BLUEFIELD — Stitched together at Graham Middle School, guests, vendors, and artists enjoyed the eighth annual Pathwork Quilters Jamboree, on Saturday.

Throughout the front of the school and the gym, quilters, artists of various mediums, and others joined the cheerful atmosphere. As guests appreciated the meticulous craftsmanship of the quilts, they could engage with the creators and learn more about their creative processes.

Of the importance of the annual showcasing, according to the Patchwork Quilters co-chairperson, Bety Kuppusami, is to showcase the, “Lost art.” According to Kuppusami, quilting is an art that is slowly slipping away, but not without a fight from the Patchwork Quilters.

By way of their annual show, Kuppusami and her fellow members have been able to introduce the art form to younger generations and teach them what it means to create something by scratch with their hands.

To co-chairperson, Betty Watson, the Jamboree is important because “It brings people together.” Watson also believes that the annual event, and others similar to this, is because it offers a safe and, “Clean” environment for men, women, and children, to, “Learn new things.”

Throughout the many quilts displayed, guests could examine the quilts up close and observe the incredibly intricate stitching techniques and designs. Aside from the construction the artist’s design and color choices also showcased their own unique creativity.

“Half of what quilts are is visual,” Kuppusami said, as she talked through a quilt as a whole, then the smaller pieces, “Then you see the finer points.”

A quilt’s size and design can alter the length of the project, along with this, the artist’s dedication can also affect the completion time. According to Kuppusami, a quilter could treat their quilting as a job and designate time to create, or they could sew leisurely.

This is the first Jamboree where quilters were given feedback from the competition judges, according to Kuppusami. Aside from the pieces being judged by those with vast quilting knowledge, a guest favorite was also chosen by visitors filling out slips with their favorite pieces’ title.

With endless possibilities for a quilt’s design, artists must first choose a pattern, and then their color choices. With these choices, artists can make their creations as traditional or modern as they like. With many artists being showcased at the Jamboree, a vast variety of pieces were on show.

Patchwork Quilters member, Dr. Carol Ruckman, enjoys choosing vibrant colors that strike the audience. With some of her pieces including neon, they certainly stand out for good reason.

“The newer type of quilts interest younger people. Sometimes when you say a quilt, they think of old grandma quilts but they can be very creative and artistic,” Ruckman said of her vibrant color choices, “I like the artistic quilts.”

Of her club membership, Ruckman stated that aside from the creative aspect of getting together and simultaneously creating, the members also have fun in their camaraderie.

“I’ve sewn most of my life but quilting is a late hobby I took up,” Ruckman said, “We have fun getting together.”

Along with locals, the event also brought in people from across the country. With vendors from Florida, North Carolina, and more, creators from all over the country enjoyed each other’s presence. Aside from quilts, stained glass, wood art, paintings, paper crafts, and many more, were in attendance.

Guests also had the opportunity to sit in for quilting demonstrations to better understand the true craftsmanship that goes into quilt making. With rows of seats stationed around sewing machines, guests could watch these quilting veterans first hand and view their meticulous work.

“With the Jamboree, we try to pull artists, both local, and from out of town, together,” Watson said, “We work all year for this event.”

For more information on the Patchwork Quilters or their various other event opportunities, call at 304-888-7468 or visit online at

Contact Emily D. Coppola at