Shooting StarBlock Number: 15
On December 29, 2009, when the snow covered the ground by several inches and the temperatures were in the teens, the McDowell Quilt Trail expanded its reach to Lake James by installing on the boat dock, belonging to Kathy and Bob Brendle, the first block on the new trail called McDowell Quilt Trail on Lake James. The only way to view this block is from a boat on the lake.
McDowell County has been home to Kathy and Bob since 1975, with Kathy, employed as an educator, and Bob at Marion Mills as an engineer. After retiring, Kathy worked with theater productions at MACA, and is currently McDowell Quilt Trail’s first volunteer, assisting with the painting of the quilt blocks.
Kathy’s interest in folk art began as a child, while living in Wisconsin where she admired the Polish art form of paper cutting, called wycinanki (pronounced vee-chee-non-kee), in her grandmother’s home. Her interest in art continued as her family moved to the farming district around Milwaukee, where the Dutch or Scandinavian families adorned their barns with painted Hex signs, as a form of good luck. At age 15 her family moved to the south where she learned about quilt making, along with the stories and symbols found in quilts. Naturally, when Kathy heard about the McDowell Quilt Trail, she was drawn to this form of folk art and felt her interest had come full circle, from the Polish wycinanki to the quilts of the American South.
Their block they call “Shooting Star” is a 3x3 foot block painted in the primary colors of red, yellow and blue, and can only be seen from the water. In the summertime when the pine trees, magnolias, and dogwoods are in full foliage, everything behind the block will be green. Kathy says she “chose a simple design and colors that fit. I have always lived around water, so what a perfect place to put a quilt panel than on the water for everybody who shares the water to see. This is closure in a full circle.”