By Jean A. Flanagan
The Wayne County 4-H Ambassadors are working to bring art and farming together. They have been building and painting barn quilts as a community service project since 2014. It’s a way to honor the Appalachian heritage skill of quilt-making. Their Barn Quilt Trail is an effort to bring beauty and community pride to Wayne County and beyond.
[private] The Ambassadors constructed and painted two barn quilts which now decorate the Leatherman barn in Old Fields. They are the 27th and 28th barn quilt made by the group. They were installed last week.
“I knew about the 4-H Ambassador project through the Extension Service,” said Hardy County native Jennifer Ours Williams. “I was fascinated with the project and asked my sister, Debbie, if she would consider putting two on our barn.”
The Leatherman barn has been in the Ours family for several decades. Williams and Debbie Ours Bishop own Valley View Farms in Old Fields.
Williams is the WVU Extension Agent in Harrison County.
“She said yes, so I searched the Internet for designs,” Williams said. “I wanted something that would be bright, but wouldn’t fade in the weather.”
According to the WVU Extension Service – Wayne County website, as of Spring 2016, there are 23 barn and building quilts in Wayne County and five outside the county. The group even got the attention of West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, who commissioned a barn quilt for his home.
The group hopes to install 10 more barn quilts this year.