Dawna Cope and her neighbours created barn quilts her shed in Sheridan Lake. (Photo submitted).

Dawna Cope and her neighbours created barn quilts her shed in Sheridan Lake. (Photo submitted).

Barn quilts brighten up shores of Sheridan Lake

Local resident is encouraging quilters to make a “barn quilt trail”

A Sheridan Lake woman is calling on Caribooers to create a “Barn Quilt Trail” around the area’s lakeshores.

Dawna Cope is encouraging residents to join in the growing movement after her boathouse – featuring her six unique barn quilts – made the latest edition of Canadian Quilter Magazine. Barn quilts are traditional quilt blocks painted on wood and are often hung on barns, although they are now being found on sheds, porches and gates.

“I was thrilled, what an honour,” Cope, 61, said, noting her shed was featured on the editor’s page in the magazine. “Much to my surprise they loved it.”

Barn quilts usually tell stories about individual farms, but can also just be unique patterns to brighten up the area. According to Canada Barn Quilts Trails, they “inspire rural communities across Canada to appreciate and market their assets via barn quilts. This eye-catching folk art attracts visitors and helps our rural communities put themselves on the map.”

Cope, a member of the Boundary Bay Quilters’ Guild who has a cabin at Sheridan Lake, said she got the idea about barn quilts four years ago from an American quilter. Last year, she supplied the paints and wood and taught a group of six women in Sheridan Lake how to make them, in smaller two-by-two blocks.

“They all finished and they turned out beautifully,” said Cope, who has been quilting since she was a teenager. “These ladies are not quilters and they just got all excited about it. We talked about putting them on the fence but I thought let’s put them on the water so we can share them on the lake and the Cariboo.”

Cope hung her barn quilts, based on favourite patterns, on her boathouse, and said they are already attracting attention. After the article was featured in the magazine, a woman took a boat on the water hoping to spot her shed, she said.

“They went all around the lake until they found it,” Cope said. “I’m hoping it catches on up here. I’d like to have (a trail) somewhere on the water so all the work is visible from the water whether you’re fishing or boating. I hope it becomes something the Cariboo is known for.”

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