Proud of East Texas: Deborah Burkett

By Joan Hallmark,

Quilting is a centuries old art that has long brought families and friends together.

Many east Texans still remember quilting frames hanging from the ceilings of our grandparents homes.

In the year 2000, Deborah Burkett initiated a quilt show in the town of Troup, featuring her personal  quilt collection, area family heirloom quilts, and  new quilts created by individuals and
quilting groups.

Early pioneers made quilts for warmth and for beauty. Often quilting was the only way to express art in pioneer homes, during the depression of the 1930's, feed and flour companies started printing  sacks in colorful designs that could be turned into clothing. Leftover fabric ended up in the family scrap box and was used for quilting.

The beauty of early pioneer and farm quilts soon attracted the attention of wealthier ladies,  and quilts, pieced with satins and velvets, soon appeared.

All these fabrics and designs depict the history of our country, the quilters who made them, and the families who have preserved and cherished the quilts.

From her very first quilt show  13 years ago, Deborah realized that the wonderful quilts on display needed to be documented and preserved...

As the photos and personal stories grew, Deborah realized how important and historic her little quilt show in Troup, Texas had become.

The result of Debroah's years of photos and research is the book "Quilts and Their Stories: Binding Generations Together: Journal of a Small Town Quilt Show."

The book contains over 500 quilts from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, along with photos of generations of quilters and their histories.

This group of Henry's Chapel Quilters,  featured in the book, quilt not only for their families, but work in celebration of their church.

Quilter Susan Martin says the quilt they're working on was started two years ago.

When the quilt is completed, it will hang in the Henry's Chapel Church building, reminding one and all of time and accomplishments not to be forgotten.

Deborah Burkett says the goal of her book is much the same, to ensure that the quilts and their stories will be remembered after all ;they are precious memories worthy of preservation.

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