Tall Ships of 76Block Number: 32
“TALL SHIPS OF ‘76”
Joyce Suppes contributed to this article
On May 6, 2010, McDowell Quilt Trail added the second quilt block on the Lake James trail, “Tall Ships of ‘76”. This 4x4 block, No. 32, was installed on the railing that leads to the boat dock belonging to Graham and JoAnne Stewart in the Mallard Cove area, a beautiful location on the Burke County side of Lake James.
The McDowell Quilt Trail committee, celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, continues its work with the installation of its 36th block. Several more blocks are in the construction and painting stages located at studio in the McDowell House; they will be going up soon. This project grew out of a grassroots effort that began through the McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA), as a way to honor the tradition of quilting in the Appalachian region, and bring beauty, tourism, and economic development to McDowell County. Various reasons are given why individuals, businesses and/or families choose to host a quilt block, many in honor of a mother or grandmother who enjoyed quilting, while others choose one simply for its geometric design and artistic beauty.
On a recent beautiful June morning, after a day of heavy rain, Graham and JoAnne Stewart took a few members of the McDowell Quilt Trail committee out on their pontoon boat to view their quilt block from the waters of Lake James and tell their story. The Stewarts chose the “Tall Ships of ‘76” pattern because of Graham’s love for sailing.
Tall Ships Of ’76 was the name of a race of tall sailing ships from Bermuda to New York during the Bicentennial in 1976. According to Graham, the tall ship races are designed to encourage the art of sailing and international friendship among young people.
Graham’s family owned a cottage on Torch Lake in Michigan, where he grew up learning to fish and sail. “I love sailing,” he says, “everything from sailing canoes to 38-foot catch boats. He crewed for a time on E-scows, and at one time raced in a one-person Laser dinghy. Later, while living in Nevada, he enjoyed sailing on Lake Mead, so the choice of this particular quilt block seemed like a natural.”
JoAnne, a native of North Carolina, practiced general law in Northern Virginia for many years. Upon her retirement from the practice of law and Graham’s retirement from the corporate world, they found their way back to North Carolina. After several visits to Lake James, each one lasting longer than the one before, they decided to make their home on Mallard Cove, a beautiful location on the Burke County side of Lake James.
The picturesque placement of the Stewarts’ quilt block is perfect for this geometric sailing ship design. The movement of the water on the lake brings to life the brilliant white sails. The Hasbrouck brown hull depicts the walkway descending to the lake, while the Casco Bay blue depicts the water, and the Rocky Mountain blue background depicts the sky. The block wears the McDowell Quilt Trail logo on the lower right-hand side of the frame, certifying that it is a McDowell Quilt Trail block. Each host receives a framed Certificate of Authenticity suitable for hanging.