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Local art gallery displays fair-winning project
Rex Klein stands in front of a Stanislaus County Fair best of show winning quilt that was hand embroidered by Phyllis Beasley. Klein installed the quilt at the Turlock Community Art Gallery on Tuesday. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal
Phyllis Beasley was walking down the hall of the Modesto Senior Citizens Center after her exercise class when she saw something so beautiful that it made her stop in her tracks. She was looking at a quilt that another senior was sewing by hand. Beasley liked the quilt so much that she asked the woman to teach her how to make one of her own.
Beasley started quilting five years ago. This year, she decided to enter a few of her quilts in the Stanislaus County Fair. One of her quilts won third place, and the other took first place and best of show. Her best of show quilt was hand embroidered with a bird and leaf design, the first time Beasley had ever embroidered anything.
“It felt good to know that my work was up to the same standard as other quilts that I have seen at the fair,” Beasley said.
When Beasley went to pick up her quilt, she said that someone suggested she have it appraised. She took her quilt to Cloth and Quilt in Turlock, and they said that they could not appraise the work. The quilt shop did suggest that she take her quilt to Rex Klein at the Turlock Community Art Gallery.
Klein said that he had been looking for quilts to show at his downtown gallery. The Turlock Community Art Gallery has never shown quilts before, and Klein is excited to see the response.
Beasley said that quilting has taught her patience. She used to watch her grandmother quilt by hand, but she never realized how much time and effort it took. She said that when she gets a new pattern she wants to do it right.  If she doesn’t like the way something looks, she will take it apart and start over.
“If it’s wrong, then I won’t be pleased with it,” Beasley said.
Beasley admits that she was a little overwhelmed by quilting when she first started. She said that learning how to coordinate colors and match the fabrics was a little daunting at first.
“I stood there and looked at all that fabric for about 20 minutes,” she said.
Quilting now comes a little easier to Beasley, and she said she enjoys finding unique color combinations and creating something unique that nobody else has. More than that, she likes sharing her quilts with people who enjoy them.
Beasley now has quilts all over the country. She has sent her creations to friends and family in Louisiana, Washington and Michigan. She also teaches quilting to other seniors in the King-Kennedy Senior Group in Modesto.
Beasley also has another quilting student, her 10-year-old granddaughter. She is proud to be teaching the next generation a skill that they can use later in life.
The Turlock Community Art Gallery is located in the Rex Klein Insurance office, 132 S. Center St., Turlock. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003