Monday, April 18, 2016

A Quilter's Tale, the History of the River City Quilt Guild

by Suzi Montague based on information provided by Pat Hodgins, et al

Once upon a time there was only one quilt guild in town, the Patchwork Pelicans, a close group of about 12.  There were other quilters in Baton Rouge who longed for the kinship of quilting.  So began their odyssey with a few members from the Embroiderers Guild of America.  The group gained focus with Julie Mohr in 1984.  What began as a cluster of helping hands, to help Julie in creating and completing a quilt show for the NQA-GSQA, became the charter membership of the guild. 
Julie Mohr is an NQA-certified quilting instructor with skills in hand piecing, hand quilting, and applique.  She is a Midwesterner with Mennonite roots and a long family history of quilting. 
Names you may recognize from the "good old days" are Ann Crossley, Gail McClain, Pam Rosebrook, Thelma Berg, Ella Wilkinson (Gail Bass' mom), Louise Bradford, Marilyn Kelley, Barbara Hoffman, Pat Hodgin, Marsha Dardenne, Lynne Frutiger, and Norma McGee, to name just a few. 
1985 -- La Fete de Piquage - National Quilting Association.  The debut at the Great Hall of the Bellemont Hotel presented a judged show, fashion show, luncheon, and merchants' mall.  Kit Carpenter won Best of Show with a quilt which later went on to win at the AQS show in Paducah, KY.  Veronic Fitzgerald also entered a quilt which later won Best of Show at Quilt National held in Ohio in 1987. 
Guild name:  Suggested by David Kelley, husband of Marilyn. 
Original guild logo:  In 1985, Lynne Frutiger and Norma McGee created a Baton Rouge skyline logo which was appliqued on docent aprons used at the show. 
Present guild logo and pin:  Deanna Carney made this design in 1988.  She now resides in Norway.  Her use of color (blue, fuschia, and green) and their placement was to depict azaleas by a body of water. 
Guild banner:  Created by Eileen Parent. 
Initially, members met in one another's homes.  As the guild grew in number, the Goodwood Library became the permanent meeting place.
1985 -- There was a succession of presidents:  Marsha Dardenne, Pat Hodgin, then Thelma Berg completed the year. 
1986, 1987 -- Thelma Berg as president. 
1987 -- Bon Marche quilt show.  The guild was incorporated and by laws written.  Thirty members had the choice of day or night meetings. 
1988 -- Carol Burger was president. 
1989 -- Ellery Fleming was president.  Special events included the first Christmas Challenge and the Magnolia Mound Quilt Show. 
1990 -- Melanie West was president.  This year brought Parker House and quilts for its children.  Melanie taught classes to provide inspiration. 
1991 -- Eileen Parent was president.  Membership soared from 12 to 40.  The Progressive was begun along with lotto blocks and secret pal.  Community service took several to present a demonstration of quilting at Vermillionville Acadian Settlement in Lafayette. 
1992 -- Del Horan was president.  Membership rose from 40 to 70.  Raffle quilt, a blue Triple Irish Chain, was created to benefit the Marilyn Kelley Van Fund.  Participation began in the Very Special Arts Fair. 
1993 -- Barbara Hoffman was president.  Small sewing circles were created to bring members closer together.  Christmas in July community service drive provided household goods for Parker House.  Scrappy Challenge had 42 participants with a much anticipated presentation in October. 
Community service:  Generosity is a strong trait within the guild.  Projects include quilting exhibitions at Fest-For All, Magnolia Mound, Vermillionville (in Lafayette), the Very Special Arts Fair, local schools and nursing homes.  Parker House has always been a rewarding experience.  Many guild members have taught classes and workshop to the benefit of all.  Members have made and continue to make quilts which have been juried in national and international shows and have appeared in books and magazines. 
Please send comments and corrections to me at or 760 815 5305.