Addressing fondness for green at Gettysburg
My favorite color is green in all its glorious shades.
After a visit last fall to historic Gettysburg, Pa., the grass of a Civil War cemetery haunts my memory. It was dappled with early morning sun through a copse of trees, identical blackish gray tombstones standing at attention like the soldiers buried beneath them once did at reveille.
Green is said to be the color of peace. I can only pray that those men — so great in number and so doomed in battle — found their tranquility beneath nature’s green covering there.
A surprisingly short distance from the cemetery and battleground hills lies the original town of Gettysburg. Historic buildings line its narrow streets, busts of Abraham Lincoln proclaim his 19th century presence, and restaurants and shops capitalize on 150 years of fame.
As I casually perused the stores in tourist mode, I wandered into a specialty shop called Artworks on a main street.
It was there I discovered the most beautiful shade of green I’ve ever seen — pistachio green. It was paired with brown in a quilted bedding set of log cabin blocks arranged in a star design. (Log cabin blocks, of course, are most often identified with Abe Lincoln and his modest childhood.) This bedding set was called Pistachio Star.
Fascinated with that mix of chocolate and shimmering chartreuse, I spied an accent pillow of small prairie points in those same colors. Rows of points overlapped across the pillow top in pizzazzy style.
I identified the pattern as prairie points, but the decorator pillow style was labeled “roof tiles.” The price was about $40.
I learned that the designer is Donna Sharp, a fifth-generation quilter who lives in Shepherdsville, Ky. (the state in which Lincoln was born).
During her childhood, Sharp says she learned, “with great awe, the intense mechanics of this incredible skill.”
“Over the years, I practiced how to measure and cut, how to sew and stitch.”
She also discovered in herself a talent for mixing different fabric pieces and creating a story through color.
In 1981, Sharp and her mother began hand-selecting fabrics, designing patterns and creating custom quilts that they sold to friends and family and at flea markets.
Customer demand drove the growth of her company, Donna Sharp Inc., which she and her husband, Dean, formed about 30 years ago in Kentucky.
Now, she designs her own fabrics, artfully combining them into patterns for bed quilts, apparel, handbags and dining room accessories such as chair pads and place mats.
Many color combinations and traditional patterns are available in Sharp’s bedding collections— such as wedding ring and postage stamp.
The log cabin star pattern in patriotic colors is appropriately called Gettysburg. Some of her limited edition styles are hand-quilted; others are both hand- and machine-quilted.
In addition to selling her products through retail stores across the country, the company recently launched a hobby line with fabrics by the bolt, fat quarters and some quilt kits.
When I checked online for other store locations, I found about a dozen in Colorado, mostly in Estes Park, Colorado Springs and other Front Range cities.
A store in Breckenridge was listed and, surprisingly, I discovered that Ruby Canyon Custom Framing and Emporium in Fruita carries an assortment of Donna Sharp patchwork items, including quilted handbags, wallets and baby nursery quilts with matching stuffed bears. The handbags retail for about $40.
Sharp’s website, http://www.donnasharp.com, includes a personal message. Her pride in her quilting heritage is evident. Sharp says she learned that a quilt is more than a blanket to keep you warm or even an accent to decorate a room.
In fact, Sharp writes, a quilt in its most pure nature is even more than a piece of art.
“It is a piece of the quilter’s heart.”
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Email Sherida.Warner@ gjsentinel.com.