The Andover Public Library’s Reading Garden has always been an inviting place to soak in some sunshine and inhale floral-scented air while nourishing the mind with prose. Thanks to an anonymous donor and the library’s Friends group, it’s also a great place to curl up with a quilt.
On June 28 the library officially dedicated the first 8-by-8 barn quilt on Andover Square. The barn quilt is on the east side of the library building, facing the Reading Garden and visible from The Square. The pattern is Ohio Rose, tweaked by artist Venie Hinson, who supervised painting the barn quilt in the library’s meeting room.
Hinson was assisted by Jennifer Martin, Nancy Logan, Barbara de Villiers, Sandy John and Joan Chapman.
The late Christina Angerman, co-founder of the Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Trail, piqued interest in a library barn quilt at least two years ago, says Susan Hill, the library’s executive director. Chris held a barn quilt workshop at the library and trained Friends of the Library members in taping and painting techniques.
“Chris trained not only our Friends with a workshop, we all did 2-by-2-foot panels, but also attended a meeting of the Steeple Stitchers quilting group at the First Congregational Church, which Venie attends,” Hill says.
When funding became available for a full-size barn quilt, Venie organized volunteers to assist with the project. Chris, who died while the barn quilt was being planned, provided input and advice right up until the last week of her life, Hill says.
“She was thrilled with the idea of the quilt in the Reading Garden of our library,” Hill says.
The artists adopted the techniques and paint specifications of the Barn Quilt Trail Steering Committee so the work would qualify for inclusion on the trail and last at least a decade.
The floral design is one of the most challenging to paint, and Venie Hinson developed some novel approaches to taping off the successive layers of color. For several weeks in May, volunteer artists visited the library almost daily to add another layer of paint to the quilt inside the masked-off areas.
The barn quilt was raised on June 11 after weeks of planning and research. Hill says the original plan was to secure the barn quilt to posts rather than the building.
“Mike Dzera, our problem-solving custodian, figured out how to attach the quilt without driving any holes through it,” Hill says. “He planned out the frame, how we would push it up against the wall in order to fasten it securely, how many people it would take to hold it, what adhesive would work best,” Hill says. “Fortunately, he has extensive experience and knew how to manage the brick surface.”
His crew consisted of Henri de Villiers, Dan and Pete Hill, Don Eyring, Joan Stiedl and Nancy Logan, Barbara de Villiers, Sandy John and Susan Hill.
The official dedication of the art was 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Hill dedicated the quilt to the memory of Chris Angerman. The library plans to place a small plaque recognizing Chris next to the quilt.
The Reading Garden is open even when the library is closed. Hill says security cameras monitor and record activity in the garden.