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Quilter finds her artistic thread
quilt pic
ANDREA GOODWIN/ The Journal Mary Ann Bloom holds a quilt that she will show in the Turlock Quilt Guild’s “From Heart to Hand” show on Feb. 20 and 21. Bloom is the featured quilter, and will show over 50 pieces.
Mary Ann Bloom spends hundreds of hours on each work of art that she creates, only to have them tossed on a sofa or folded at the foot of a bed. That is the goal of a quilter, to have his or her work enjoyed by friends and family. Bloom’s work will be enjoyed by other quilters and the Turlock community at the Turlock Quilt Guild’s 2010 show, “From Heart to Hand.”
Bloom is the featured quilter at the show, something that she considers an honor.
“To be chosen as the featured quilter is kind of a vote of confidence from my peer group,” Bloom said.
Bloom began quilting in 1999 when she made her first quilt for her son Kevin, who was an Eagle Scout at the time. She found her passion in quilting when she attending an Appliqué Society quilt show in Sacramento. She said that she was attracted to appliqué, because a love of intricate hand-work has always been part of her Portuguese heritage.
Bloom considers quilting almost an obsession, and her favorite style is appliqué. Bloom first makes a quilt top by piecing blocks together. She then cuts tiny patterns out of fabric and meticulously hand stitches them to the finished blocks, using a technique called “needle turn appliqué.” Bloom said that she does most of her appliqué work by hand, a process that can take much longer than traditional quilt making.
“I spent over a year working on one of my featured quilts,” Bloom said.
The Turlock Quilt Guild show will include 177 quilts on display, at least 50 of which were made by Bloom.
Bloom said that she was a little nervous to be the featured quilter, because now she has to live up to the tittle. Several of her show quilts are bright and abstract, and they are very different from the traditional style she prefers.
“Artsy quilts take me out of my comfort zone,” Bloom said.
Out of her comfort zone is exactly where Bloom wants to be when it comes to quilting. She said that she learns more about quilting and she improves her skills when she tries something new and different. As a sewing teacher at Turlock High for four years, Bloom always encouraged her students to try challenging projects. She took over as the THS sewing teacher when staff was swapped around during the opening of Pitman High school. After coaching and teaching physical education for many years, teaching sewing was a new challenge for Bloom. She retired in 2008 after 38 years in education.
The guild hosts a quilt show every other year, and they have been planning the current show for the past year and a half. Barbara Barker, the guild’s quilt show chairman, said that this year’s show will feature freestanding quilts in all-new frames. Quilts will be judged by participating quilters in categories according to size and method used to create the quilt.
The Turlock Quilt Guild is a non-profit organization that meets twice a month, one meeting for business and another for programs. Together they donate quilts to the Salvation Army, local hospices, the Children’s Hospital in Madera, and other local charities. They also make red, white and blue quilts for Quilts of Valor, a program that sends quilts to soldiers.
“It’s a tremendous program, all of the quilt guilds try to participate,” said Barbara Foote, Turlock Quilt Guild president.
The Turlock Quilt Guild Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 20, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Stanislaus County Fair Grounds in the Main Exhibit Hall E2.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.