A contest for your storied quiltsQuilts have long held a...

ON THE HOME FRONT

August 15, 1993|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

A contest for your storied quilts

Quilts have long held a special place in American culture, and many have a story behind them: The quilt made from a U.S. flag so it could be openly displayed in front of Confederate soldiers. The wagon train diary quilt made in the 1800s. A quilt that was a proposal of marriage.

To capture and preserve some of the stories behind contemporary quilts, Good Housekeeping and Coming Home, the bed and bath division of Lands' End, are sponsoring a quilt contest with a difference. The theme is "If Quilts Could Talk," and each quilt in the final judging must be accompanied by an essay of 100 words or less on the story and emotions behind the entry.

To get a copy of the rules and an entry form for the All-American Quilt Contest, call (800) 345-3696. Entries must be postmarked by midnight, March 31, 1994. Top prizes include $10,000 for first place, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third. Winners will also be chosen from each state and the District of Columbia.

Annette Stark is a sign painter. Her messages are flowery and sweet, surrounded perhaps by tea roses and larkspur in shades of pink and lavender, a charming decoration for a flower garden. Or, depending on the message, they have practical uses: as herb markers, for instance.

Her signs are folk art, and people buy the Bel Air native's work as fast as she can turn it out. Her most popular garden signs are ovals about 16 inches wide, made of an outdoor fiberboard that she paints, lightly antiques and lacquers. The signs hang or come on stakes, and cost $32.

For city folk Ms. Stark makes a Maryland sign covered with memorabilia, from the Orioles to the water to black-eyed Susans. Tourists love it, and it's a best seller at Towson Town Center's Country Accents -- where, Ms. Stark says, the garden signs don't do as well.

You can find Ms. Stark's garden signs at local garden stores, craft shows and gift shops such as the Bel Air Country Store.

Home design often follows fashion trends. If that holds true with the latest styles, look for the '70s revival to influence interior design in a big way.

As white-on-white and spare, neutral rooms run their course, reinventing of '70s style to fit the current decade seems likely. We're already seeing it in the cutting-edge shelter magazines like Elle Decor. In the August/September issue, there are two stories that hark back to the Age of Aquarius. "We're not talking lava lamps and macrame," says editor-in-chief Marian McEvoy. Hippie style is "a richness, a playful willingness to play with baroque materials, such as painted velvet, beaded brocade, etched mirrors and glass. The colors are saturated and warm -- purple, mauve, chartreuse." Even in the more traditional home-design magazines we're seeing groovy touches: a fringe here, a beaded curtain there, international influences from India to the Middle East to Venice.

If you love the look you'll have to go hunting to find it locally. Now and then stores like Moderne Antiques carry pieces from important designers of the era. Or you can stop by Killer Trash for leopard-skin pillows, beaded curtains and '70s knickknacks. But your best bet is not to take the revival too literally: rich, far-out colors, shapes and textures will capture the spirit of the decade.

Shaker Americana, which opened a month ago, is selling the kind of furniture you don't find everywhere. These are authentic re-creations and replicas of 19th-century American pieces. Made solid wood by Maryland crafts people, they have a simplicity that's integral to their style.

The authentic oil finishes give a natural feel to the wood, and natural stains let its warmth come through. "The grain is right there because the furniture isn't covered with layers and layers of modern finishes," says manager John Ash.

Maybe the best news of all is that the pieces are priced affordably, given the quality of the work.

Shaker Americana is part of Rockland Woodworks Cooperative at 2210 Old Court Road. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (410) 823-2160.

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