Quilting through the ‘generations’

Apr. 27, 2013 @ 05:55 PM

The Cedar Grove Quilter’s group quilt show will be held today from 2-5 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Eno Presbyterian Church on Efland Cedar Grove Road in Cedar Grove.

For Bob Sharpe of Efland, the opportunity to sew his first quilt was about linking the past with the present. Sharpe, who was born and raised in Orange County and attended Orange High School and then East Carolina University, became interested in quilting as an extension of his major in college. “I received my degree in theater arts and directing management and I found an ability to relate my design experience with quilting,” says Sharpe.
His mother, Harris Sharpe, had tenured history in making quilts and did so through the Cedar Grove Quilters group. Through his experience with the logistics of directing and managing theatrical performances, Sharpe found his talents useful in assisting with the quilting group and supporting them as needed. “I used to help my mother with her quilting and then began helping the quilting group as a whole and eventually I decided to knit a quilt that I felt to be symbolic of my family,” says Sharpe.
The idea behind Sharpe’s quilt was that of doilies that were knitted more than 80 years ago by his grandmother. “We had boxes of these doilies that were knitted back in the 1930s and they are very important to our family. I decided to incorporate them in a quilt and so began a long journey of learning about quilting and putting my idea to thread and needle,” says Sharpe.
The journey took Sharpe nearly two years to complete. His design was complicated by the fact that there was no pattern and that he had to make shapes and angles that fit inside the concept quilt. Normally, a quilter follows patterns or has years of needle-pricking experience that provides an advantage. Sharpe learned through trial and error. “I would work on it and get frustrated and then once I just closed it all up in a box and let it rest before completing. All said it took two years,” Sharpe says.
Having lived in Raleigh for more than 20 years before relocating to the area, Sharpe acknowledges that through quilting he has been able to reconnect with the area and also he has found work again through his passion, theater management. This coming summer, Sharpe will direct the Orange Community Players in the stage production “Cinderella.”
“It is good to be involved with directing again and I am excited for the opportunity to work with local actors and be involved with something that I am passionate about and committed to,” says Sharpe.
For Sharpe, the completion of his quilt, and his role of directing are both tangible results of his creative spirit. Yet, beyond his role as director and his experience learning to quilt, Sharpe demonstrates an even greater passion, family.
“Upon designing and working on this quilt, I knew that I was doing something that would honor my family and that is very important to me,” says Sharpe.
The name of Sharpe’s quilt is “Generations” and through quilting and his creative spirit, Sharpe is keeping his family name and his passions in good order.
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