By Patricia Belyea
SISTERS OR When most quilters think about Sisters, they think about the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show—the annual outdoor quilt show that takes over the town during the second weekend of July.
The rest of the year, Sisters is a charming artsy town with 1880s facades along the main street.
So why was I in Sisters in late September? I headlined as the only teacher at this year’s Art Quilt Symposium, hosted by Stitchin’ Post.
(The Symposium is a highfalutin name for my week-long workshop in the back room of this famous quilt shop. The Symposium is typically a larger affair but venues to host additional teachers were not available this year. So the 2022 Symposium was a humble re-start after a few years of Covid.)
My students came to learn about Complex Curves. Four of them had already taken this workshop with me—so they forged ahead with independent projects.
Here are photos of my lively students with some of their work:
In jest, I had told Education Director Diane Jaquith that I wanted to give the Keynote Speech at the Symposium. Diane arranged for my students to join East of the Cascades Quilt Guild for their September meeting. Also, shop owner Jean Wells invited the local SAQA group.
Mid-week I presented my talk about the Tokyo Quilt Festival to 50 quilter gals in our workshop space. The next morning I returned to find a gift basket overflowing with goodies—a Sisters mug, local fudge, Sisters coasters, and a Sisters tea towel—to remember my time in town.
These days it’s hard to find a fully functioning and fabulous quilt shop. Yet in Sisters, with a population less than 3,000, Stitchin’ Post is housed in a BIG rustic-style building with quilt displays, hundreds of bolts of fabric, notions and patterns, yarns, and gifts. It’s great to see such an inspirational and thriving store.
An even greater rarity is the clock shop directly behind Stitchin’ Post—Beacham’s Clock Company. Owner Ed Beacham made his first clock when he was just 16 years old as a high school woodworking assignment. Today he creates unique masterpieces that are filled with custom components, inside and out.
I entered the shop just before noon on my last day in Sisters. What a magical moment when all the clocks struck twelve! The horological emporium filled with chimes, chirps, songs, and more.
Ed’s welcoming wife, Kathi Beacham, showed me Ed’s most recent project. The huge ornate clock case was awaiting a Bavarian town, dancers, and musicians.
Then Kathi took me into the back of the shop to meet Ed and see his work-in-progress. In the workroom, the love of clocks and the obvious love between these two remarkable people shone brightly.
As my visit came to a close, I learned that the three peaks that rise over the southwestern skyline of Sisters are named Faith, Hope, and Charity. Those three virtues were continually shared with my newfound quilting friends.
It was a blessed week of creativity, camaraderie, and fun!