Sunday, February 04, 2001

'Quiltin' Cousins' display art

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Charlotte Hunter (left) and Linda M. Chapman install their quilts in the Nordheim Art Gallery at Holmes High School.
(Patrick Reddy photos)
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        COVINGTON — They were two Cincinnati cousins who didn't meet until adulthood. But one would never know it. To watch Linda M. Chapman and Charlotte Hunter set up their “Quiltin' Cousins” show, opening Monday at the Nordheim Art Gallery, you'd think the two women were childhood friends.

        The two, who are in their 40s and 50s, banter like sisters, with the ease of a shared passion for quilting, often finishing each other's sentences.

        Though both learned to sew from their mothers, Ms. Chapman credits Ms. Hunter, actually her second cousin, with inspiring her love of quilting.

        “She got me started and, bless her heart, she gets me around to all the quilt shows and workshops and quilting bees, because I don't drive,” Ms. Chapman said.


  • WHAT: “Quiltin' Cousins” art exhibit, Monday through March 4 at Nordheim Art Gallery.
  • WHERE: Gallery is at Holmes High School, 25th Street and Madison Avenue, Covington.
  • WHEN: Linda M. Chapman and Charlotte Hunter will meet the public 6-8 p.m. Friday. Gallery hours by appointment only. Call (859) 292-5980, extension 1323.
        Ms. Chapman studied fashion merchandising at Southern Ohio College. In 1997, her cousin helped coordinate the six-week, Hands Of Joy Community Quilting Bee in Cincinnati. She was hooked.

        “I just went for moral support,” Ms. Chapman said. “Until then, I'd never thought about quilting.”

        At the quilting bee, Ms. Chapman met a participant who did “crazy quilting,” an abstract form that doesn't call for the precise cutting and stitch ing traditional quilting does.

        “It just looked like something I could do,” Ms. Chapman recalled.

        Long after her first quilting project — completing a quilt her mother began before she died 24 years ago — Ms. Chapman has become known for her patchwork coats, jackets , vests and her whimsical wall hangings.

        As she helped set up her exhibit Friday, Ms. Chapman wore a colorful, crazy quilt vest that mir rored her bubbly personality.

        “This is called "what you have in your house,'” she said, pointing out materials from a co-worker's old jacket, a friend's discarded quilting project, and scraps off Ms. Hunter's sewing room floor.

        The two cousins have been exhibiting their work throughout the region, including at Grailville and Miami University. Ms. Chapman's pieces in the current show sell for $75 to $1,000, while most of Ms. Hunter's artwork sells for $200 or more.

        Dr. Crickette Todd, director of Nordheim Art Gallery, learned of the two women by chance.

        Last September, Ms. Chapman visited a mother-son art show at Nordheim with a mutual artist friend who later bragged to Dr. Todd about Ms. Chapman's unique wall hangings and clothing.

        “We're always looking for good local and regional artists, so I asked, "Why don't you do a quilt show?'” Dr. Todd said.

        Ms. Hunter, the more soft-spoken cousin, became a regular quilter only five years ago, when the former performing artist and poet made a quilt that incorporated photography and poetry, through the ARTWORKS summer art training program.

        “I had quilted before, but I hadn't done it in that style,” she said.

        Today, Ms. Hunter uses her various artistic skills to create quilts of historical significance. Among her subjects: Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American poet to win a Pulitzer prize; the Rev. Clarence Joseph Rivers, the pioneer of black Catholic liturgical music; and Franklin Shands, a legendary Cincinnati high school athletic coach.

        This exhibit also includes one called Millennium Peace, featuring poetry on the last Christmas of the 20th century and the first Christmas of the 21st century, and Assisi's Gold, a mix of coarse and fine fabrics depicting the life of the nobleman St. Francis Assisi, who gave up everything to follow Christ.

        “Quilting gives us the opportunity to learn and remember so many beautiful things,” Ms. Hunter said. “We're capturing the history of our community.”

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