See painted barn quilts at the Altamont library

— Photo by Jane McLean
Picture perfect: John Elberfeld puts the finishing touches on a display of barn quilt squares at the Altamont Free Library. Elberfeld, co-founder of Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail, reports that this grassroots folk art movement has spread to 45 states nationally. The exhibit will be up through the month of May.

To the Editor:

The beauty of two functional yet dissimilar objects is celebrated in the growing folk art of the barn quilt. Barn quilts are large — often four feet square or eight feet square — wooden painted designs mounted on rural buildings, frequently barns and sheds. When a number of barn quilts appear in a community, a driving tour, or quilt barn trail, is established.

The Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail in the Hilltowns is part of a grassroots movement in 45 of the 50 states and parts of Canada.

The Altamont Free Library is hosting an exhibit of small barn quilts through the month of May. The exhibit, on loan from Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail, includes a tutorial on how to construct and paint a barn quilt. In commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial (150 years), several quilt patterns of that era have been painted on wooden squares, along with information on the importance of quilts during the war.

Library Director Judith Wines invites the public to see the exhibit and to watch the library news for a related program in June. For more information, visit or call the library at 861-7239.

Our website has photographs and directions to locations of barn quilts along the trail. Visit or contact me at or 872-2082 for more information. Our Facebook page (Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail) has up-to-date news and links to other trails in the area.

Jane B. McLean
Co-Founder, Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail

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