Art quilts show off Tampa Bay history

Joanne Rodriguez knew immediately which historical Tampa landmark she wanted to create on her appliqued quilt – the image of the iconic minarets at the University of Tampa.

“When I came down to Florida in the 1980s, I just thought they were so beautiful,” said the Wisconsin native. “It’s very Tampa.”

Betty Jo Weber of Land O' Lakes makes her way down the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library hallway, where art quilts are on display. In the foreground, Sandi Snow's art quilt depicts a memory of the Hotel Floridan.  (Fred Bellet/Photo)

Betty Jo Weber of Land O’ Lakes makes her way down the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library hallway, where art quilts are on display. In the foreground, Sandi Snow’s art quilt depicts a memory of the Hotel Floridan.
(Fred Bellet/Photo)

Her quilt is one of several on display through June at an art exhibit – “Memories of Tampa Bay” – at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave.

Other quilts feature landmarks such as the St. Petersburg Pier, the Hotel Floridan in downtown Tampa, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the Dade City Historic Courthouse.

The idea for the show came from a challenge made by Terry Montaldo, long-time member of the Feather Princesses. She created a quilt featuring the Hacienda Hotel, a historic landmark near her home in New Port Richey.

“They are currently redoing it as a boutique hotel,” Montaldo said. “I’m quite anxious to see it done. It’s been a dream of people that live here.”

More than 150 members from around Tampa Bay belong to Feather Princesses. A general meeting takes place on the second Wednesday of each month at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. About a dozen smaller groups meet at various times and locations such as the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Carrollwood, Salvation Army in New Port Richey, and quilting shops in Dade City, Lutz and Land O’ Lakes.

Rodriquez joined about four years ago.

She grew up sewing clothes. “I just always loved to sew,” she said. “I even do it on vacation. This is the only group that does strictly appliques. It’s very unique.”

The guild began with a conversation between two friends, Dorothy Johnson and Laura Brooker.

“Before we knew, we were starting a guild,” said Johnson, who is the current president. “It just happened.”

In August, the Feather Princesses will celebrate their 10th anniversary.

“It’s very hot right now,” said Johnson of appliques and art quilts. “Unlike patchwork, with appliques it allows more creative expression. You’re not limited to specific shapes.”

Members work for months on some of their creations. It took a year to pull together the current library exhibit.

With so much time spent together, education and fellowship are a huge part of the appeal, Johnson said.

“We just love getting together and being with one another,” she said.

Some quilters have nearly 50 years of experience.

“Others are just learning to thread a needle,” Johnson said. “But everyone is willing to share. We’re just a fun group of ladies who like to get together and make beautiful appliques.”

For information, contact the Feather Princesses at (813) 253-9227, or visit FeatherPrincesses.org.

Published June 3, 2015

 

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