The Van Buren County Quilt Trail has launched and officially become part of Arkansas Quilt Trails. After meeting the requirement of installing at least 12 painted quilt blocks throughout the county, the trail is now featured on the website ArkansasQuiltTrails.com. Van Buren County volunteer quilt trail coordinator Shelley Moix coordinated the effort and continues to manage the addition of beautiful and colorful blocks to the trail. All of the blocks on the Van Buren County trail are four feet by four feet in size. Residents and visitors are encouraged to drive the trail to see the blocks at close-up range. Thumbnail pictures with addresses of each quilt block location, in addition to stories about each block are found at ArkansasQuiltTrails.com.
State Coordinator for Arkansas Quilt Trails Renee Carr noted that Moix and friends' effort in Van Buren County had been the quickest county trail to take shape of any of the eight counties currently in varying stages of development. The initial effort took just four months. Both Searcy and Stone counties have 20 blocks each, but started a few years back and have continued to add blocks. Perry County recently completed their 13th block. Baxter, Boone, Pike, and Newton counties are working on developing trails.
"I enjoyed getting to know people throughout the county as we worked on the quilt blocks and it was so fun to hear the stories behind each block," said Moix. She first painted the 'Strawberry' quilt block for Wade Lucas Farms, south of Shirley. Soon after, she found that Linda Gardner, had an existing block, 'Linda's Variable Star,' on Highway 330 between Shirley and Eglantine. Another contributing quilt block artist was Anna Massery who used the double wedding ring pattern from a quilt her Grandmother made her years ago for her wedding. Massery recreated each block on the quilt by painting embellishments onto the small squares to replicate the print fabric. It hangs at the Swenson Ranch near the main Fairfield Bay entrance. Patti Rye painted the 'Broken Diamond' pattern with beautiful hues and shading that create a striking three-dimensional effect. It hangs on the side of her Pig Trail Trading Post studio within sight of Greers Ferry Lake.
Moix painted a 'Sailboat on the Lake' pattern that hangs at the intersection of Highway 330, diagonally across the highway from Rambling Cove Trail as the highway turns to approach the Fairfield Bay Marina. Patti Rye added another block 'Go Fish' that appropriately hangs on the Fairfield Bay Marina. Moix also painted the 'Mystic Maze' block that hangs on the Van Buren County Historical Society and Museum in Clinton.
Anna Massery's 'Train' quilt block makes an artful splash on the Shirley Centennial Museum, representing the history of the M&NA railroad that spawned the town of Shirley in 1905. This block also leads the quilt trail follower to the Stone County Quilt Trail, with a block just across the county line.
Massery also painted the 'Pinwheel' block that hangs on the Cannaday Abstract building in downtown Clinton. The building is on the National Historic Register. She also painted the 'Patriotic' block that hangs at the farm of Barbara and Steve Jackson in the Crabtree community on Highway 16 West.
Kay Otis painted the Hidden Star block that graces the Fairfield Bay library. The Magnolia Bud pattern was painted by Bonnie Hookman and hangs on the Zooper Market Gifts and He-Brews Coffee Shop at Dennard. This quilt block leads to the adjacent Searcy County Quilt Trail.
The 'Star' block, painted by Patti Manville is found at Rabbit Ridge Farms, west of Bee Branch, and is the 13th block on the Van Buren County Quilt Trail.
"Moix and all the contributing artists are to be commended for their volunteer efforts in making a colorful and inviting quilt trail in Van Buren County that will be enjoyed for years to come," Carr said. For more information or to add a block to the Van Buren County Quilt Trail, contact Shelley Moix at 501-514-4424.