MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

October 3, 2009

‘Men of Cloth’ features colorful quilts

“Men of Cloth” used to conjure up images of preachers in their black suits.

Not any more. The new “Men of Cloth” are five talented artists who use fabric as their medium to produce beautiful textile artworks.

Sewing has traditionally been a skill learned by men for survival. Soldiers carried sewing kits and repaired their uniforms around the fire at night. It is worthy to note that historically four individuals were credited with inventing the sewing machine, all men. Men of today are rediscovering the joys of handwork that men previously took for granted.

Our first man of cloth is Gary Wasson. He shares his beginnings: “In 1980 I saw a photo with pattern and directions for a biscuit quilt in a magazine. I was interested but at that time I didn't know a quilt from a kumquat, much less how to operate a sewing machine!

My mother taught me how to use her temperamental Singer. I’ve been making quilts ever since.” Biscuit quilts are made up of biscuit sized squares of fabric, usually stuffed and puffy.

Joe Galusha, our second man of cloth, became inspired when he and his wife visited a National Quilt Show in Tulsa. His first quilt was a log cabin design, in fact he made twelve log cabin quilts the year he started. Joe and Gary teach a lot of classes together in and around Oklahoma.

The log cabin pattern is considered to be American in origin, representing log cabins on the prairie. However, there is the Mummy theory. When the British opened the Egyptian tombs they found a bunch of small animal mummies. The animals had a log cabin patterned linen wound around them. Not knowing what to do with all the mummies, the British gave them to English farmers to use as fertilizer. Can you just imagine a farmers wife copying the log cabin pattern found decomposing in her yard? Maybe, anyway makes for a good story.

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