A new quilt exhibit focused on stories and secrets will open at the Appalachian Arts Center on April 21.
The exhibit, titled “Stories Told, Secrets Revealed: Bet Ison’s Quilts,” showcases a variety of quilts by Rowan County native Bet Ison and the stories and secrets that inspired their creation. The exhibit will open on April 21, during the Hillbilly Days festival, and will be open until 8 p.m. during the three-day festival.
Then, the exhibition will be open on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment, until June 26. The exhibition is free and can be found in the second floor gallery of the Center des Appalaches. for the Arts, located at 218 Second Street.
Ison is famous for the unusual folk art installation she created with her husband, Cecil Ison, in Elliottsville, Kentucky called “The Home for Wayward Babydolls”. Rather than throw away a doll Cecil found in his field while farming, he brought her home and they began collecting lost dolls over time, displaying them on their shack, on fences and in trees, according to the Library of Congress.
Ison has been quilting since he was 20 years old. She said she learned the hobby from her husband’s family, which was active quilts, and started using her quilts to tell stories about her life, while sharing the positives and negatives.
Ison discussed the importance of having his quilts featured in an exhibit like this.
“It’s so scary and so special to me,” she said. “It’s such a great opportunity to share the stories. My experience with sharing my quilts with people is that they tell me their quilt stories and I love hearing other people’s stories. Storytelling is not just about telling your own stories. It’s also about hearing the stories of others.
Ison compared quilt makers to time travelers, and she said that quilts, like stories, can be passed down through time.
“We get to convey a part of ourselves over time with our duvets,” she said. “It’s how we show love and care and tell stories.”
Robin Irwin, the app’s executive director, said she’s wanted to feature Ison’s quilts in a gallery exhibit for some time. She said quilts are one of the many ways people share stories, and the app wants to promote all forms of storytelling, including textiles/quilts, poetry, drama, dance, art and music, etc.
“It’s so important to launch this exhibit,” Irwin said. “Bet is such a wonderful artist.”
To learn more about the new app exposure, call (606) 262-4004.