Some of you may know that I grew up in a small city called Chatham. In case you are wondering where that is, it is between London and Windsor along the 401 corridor but not officially on the 401. That is a whole other history lesson in politics and rural development.
Most of my impressionable years were spent living in a century farm house outside of Blenheim between Porky's Corners and Erieau.
It was an ideal setting. Farm land for miles and miles but only a 5 minute drive to Lake Erie.
We were surrounded by barns and farms. We lived on a one acre parcel that was severed from the original farm land. The land around us either had wheat, corn or tomatoes for Hienz growing. The barn outback was used as a smoke barn in the summer. Same as the barns across the street from us. So many people on their way to the lake would stop and come up to our door to let us know that the barn was "on fire". Eventually my mom made a sign saying the barn is NOT on fire but is a smoke barn.
Alas, that old barn has been torn down same as the one across the street from where I grew up. The old farm house still stands and I feel as though it must have shrunk in size from the time I lived there. I guess that comes with getting older. My love of barns is still the same though. On our way to the camp when I was younger we would always take the back roads to Bayfield with my grandfather in his Ford station wagon. Bouncing around in the very back of it eating our oatmeal cookies and enjoying the views. My grandfather explaining the names on the barns, why there was a clover leaf on some, cows on others and pointing out the barns that had the family name on it and instead of sons,,,,, it said DAUGHTERS! We always giggled at that. Thinking about the poor farmer with 7 daughters because they kept trying for that proverbial son that never came along. (which reminds me always of the Mighty Casey at the Bat and his daughters cartoon)
One year, the barns were looking different! Why was there quilts on the barns? Some of them were very simple in design and others were elaborate. So many questions and no answers as to the decoration.
This was my last year to go to camp and the following year I moved away.
Years later, fate brought me back along with my family and once again we were venturing out for car rides through the country side. Once again I was intrigued with the quilt phenomenon. There were a couple scattered about Chatham-Kent County but the majority was through Middle-Sex County. Luckily this time, I had this wonderful resource called the internet! Well, they were called Barn Quilts and many of them represent the farm, barn and family that it belongs to.
Today there is a website called www.barnquilttrails.ca/ and there is so much information regarding this along with history of the tour, maps, how to be involved, and more. The movement is expanding through Ontario and is very prominent in the United States.
You are probably wondering what does all this have to do with 13 and 1? Well, these are apart of me, my upbringing and in turn have some kind of creative influence on me and what I present in 13 and 1.
I love the colours, the history and the creative outlet these rural farmers have.
This summer I want to plan a barn quilt for the front of my shipping container that I have plunked in my yard. What kind of story do I want to tell people when they pull up into my yard?
What's my story? I have two dogs, two daughters, live on a hill, it's windy as all can be and the house is always a mess. How can I portray that? ha ha.
I am sure I will figure it out. But in the mean time, I am now planning a workshop for May about making a small 2x2 quilt block.
I will have to think about the logistics of it and how many people I can accommodate. Hopefully I can have access to the small barn that is on my landlords property which is why I am looking at May when it is a tad bit warmer.
This will be a longer than usual workshop and will most likely be held on a Saturday afternoon when I will have help for the store front.
There will be no stencils but full size templates, a light luncheon and fingers crossed a history lesson in regards to these pieces of rural agricultural art.
Please stay posted for the date and cost for this awesome event! I am so excited to be planning this.
Thanks for reading along. xo Jo
Hi, i'm jodi!
I am a wife to a railroader, mother to two daughters, caretaker of two Golden Retrievers and a Himalayan cat. I live in a small town with a big heart. I enjoy antiquing, furniture re-habbing, D.I.Y's and painting.