We ask how to paint a quilt, as northern Michigan opens its latest barn quilt tourist trail

Sep 19, 2014

Mason County dedicates northern Michigan's latest heritage tourism trail today. It's the latest in a series of so-called "barn quilt trails" that have popped up around the region. As you can see from the images in our slideshow (above), the quilts center on a variety of themes important to the family who builds them, anything from national pride and cultural heritage, to something reminiscent of the region. 

Artist Janice Shelly, 79, painted the first quilt in this trail and led a workshop to teach families how to build their own (A picture of her quilt is here). She's both a quilter and a painter and she says there are different techniques to painting a quilt than there are to sewing one.

"You're dealing with a sewing machine against a paint brush," she says. You might notice some common themes in the quilts in our slideshow. They mostly have bright colors and straight lines. The colors allow them to best be seen from the road, Shelly says. The lines?

"Unless you've got a really steady hand, it's just easier to tape off straight lines and impossible to do curves," she says with a slight chuckle.

"Have a joyful time looking at them," she says.

Listen for the full conversation.