Barbara Hardwick’s skills as a quilter have evolved slowly during a life full of creativity.

A member of the Sierra Needle Artists since 2002, she will be the featured quilter at the 29th annual Quilts and Threads Show Sept. 14 through 16 at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora.

Hardwick, a 45-year resident of Angels Camp, started doing crafty things as a child while growing up on a farm in Selma.

Hardwick said she had a very strict father and a mother who encouraged her talent for creating things.

“We made our own stilts and slingshots,” she said. “I’m one of those people who started at a very young age.”

Hardwick’s love for crafting led her to knitting, cross-stitch and other needle and fabric arts and continued into adulthood, where, as a teacher, she shared ideas with her students.

Hardwick worked for the Bret Harte High School District for 27 years and, during her last eight years as a teacher, at Copperopolis Elementary School, where one of her classes was arts and crafts. There, she focused on offering a variety of media to her students.

“I brainstormed how to interest kids in something,” she said. “I would teach certain techniques, and then I would just let them run with that.”

“I would say that’s how the streak of creativity begins,” Hardwick added. “I’m the same way with my grandkids. I give them all the supplies they want … . I think it’s so important.”

Hardwick’s creative skills were also used to sew clothing for her three children while they were growing up. Her grandmother was a quilter (out of necessity, she said), and her mother was a seamstress, so she had solid examples of how to create something usable out of fabric, but she didn’t really become serious about quilting until later in life.

“It’s definitely a passion now,” she said. “When I retired in 2005, then I had a lot more time to devote to it. I would say that’s when it really took off.”

Hardwick brings her enthusiasm for mixed media into her quilts, and it shows in the quilts she will have on display at next weekend’s show.

She said her favorite quilt was inspired by a photo of a mosaic in a book that featured artwork by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

“On my travels, I saw his work in real time, and I was amazed,” she said.

She said creating the quilt has been intense, and she has used a lot of the different skills she has learned over the years.

As for being this year’s featured quilter, Hardwick said, “I’m honored and certainly thank my quilting family for all their support.”

People who attend the annual Quilts and Threads Show will be able to view not only Hardwick’s work, but the work of dozens of other fabric and needle artists. The show will feature more than 250 exhibits of quilting, embroidery, weaving and spinning, along with quilt appraisals, door prizes and vendors. There will also be a drawing for an “opportunity quilt” made by guild members.

A Boutique Preview will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 14. Cost is $10 per person.

The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 15 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16. Admission on those days is $8 per person.

The fairgrounds is at 220 Southgate Drive in Sonora.

The show is co-sponsored by the Sierra Quilt Guild, Sierra Needle Artists and the Mother Lode Weavers and Spinners.

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