The Wardsville project: what we learned
Here’s what we learned
• The traditional quilt block designs can be selected to tell a story or highlight a theme. While Wardsville’s story was the War of 1812, the barn quilts can link to any theme.
• Barn quilts are an attractive visual that can be used as markers for less colourful heritage points: cairns, cemeteries, heritage signs.
• Barn quilts are the visual marker that link the story to visitor – from mobile multi-media (such as Google Map, OnCell, facebook, blogs, digital pictures) to people’s mobile communication devices. (smart phones, iPads, Blackberries)
• Wardsville employed WordPress blogs, Facebook, and other social media with rewarding results. Web 2.0 is bringing new tools online that volunteers can master quite easily when they have the desire to communicate with the outside world.
• Employing social media requires volunteers with time and interest in writing and linking on-line.
• Keep the digital technology simple.
• Google Maps are at the core, accompanied by facebook, Twitter, and blogs for the content. Communities can take on additional technology as they are able.
• Universality is critical. Data Bases of cultural assets need to be accessible to communities and the travelling audience.
• All ages are intrigued by barn quilts and are game to get involved. It’s relatively simple to paint a large impressive mural to be mounted where all can see.
• Age, ability, and expertise were not factors in the Wardsville barn quilt painting project. Whether 10 or 86 years of age, anybody can do this form of rural craft.
• The barn quilts celebrate and build interest in quilting, a traditional craft form that is experiencing resurgence.
• Like any community project, there are never enough volunteers, especially those with adequate management skills AND time. Your Wardsville discovered that it was easer to get people involved in the barn quilt project than to interest them in organizing a community event.
Mary Simpson and Denise Corneil, November 2010