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McKenzie Ledford, left, and Ruthie Sudderth work in painstaking detail to transfer the design
of an antique quilt square onto a large piece of plywood, putting the final touches on the
latest barn quilt to come out of ACHS’s new Barn Quilt Workshop.
Photo by Matthew Hundley

Originally published: 2012-11-19 20:40:39
Last modified: 2012-11-19 20:40:39

ACHS Barn Quilt Workshop

Matthew Hundley / (

Avery County High School’s art students have taken up the mantle of preserving and displaying a local historic craft and art through their Barn Quilt Workshop, a project designed by ACHS art teachers Calah Fortune and Mickey Banner to provide students with an education in history, design, color, symbolism and painting, all while helping to further beautify Avery County. What’s more, anyone can purchase a student-made barn quilt square for his or her barn, shed, garage, dock or place of business. The barn quilt squares can be made to order in themes of wildlife, nature, Christmas trees, farms, vineyards, patriotism, nautical themes, animals, sports and traditional quilt symbolism. 

Student-made quilt squares are available in two different sizes: 2-foot-by-2-foot for $190 and 4-foot-by-4-foot for $240. All proceeds from the sale of the barn quilts go to purchase supplies for the art classrooms. To inquire about purchasing a barn quilt, contact Fortune or Banner by calling (828) 733-0151 or email (

Before they begin working on quilts, students work to complete research assignments to better understand the craft, history and culture of quilting. Once students are fully versed in the history and importance of quilting they work in teams to create designs based on interviews with the clients who order barn quilts. Students also meet with the clients to review and edit designs to ensure that their expectations are met. 

Once the design is finalized, students apply several coats of high quality exterior paint on primed exterior plywood in order to ensure that the barn quilts can survive for many years in the mountain climate.

ACHS’s Barn Quilt Workshop has already produced several barn quilt squares hanging around the area. As the area’s collection of student-made barn quilt squares grows, Fortune plans to establish a barn quilt tour, guiding travelers, history buffs and art enthusiasts to historic buildings and businesses that show their dedication to the past and to the future by featuring the work of young people preserving the past. 

To learn more about the Barn Quilt Workshop, contact Fortune or Banner by calling (828) 733-0151 or email (