Local quilter wins best in show at Paducah quilting competition

Sunday, June 19, 2011
Lynn Taylor shows some of her quilts inside her sewing room June 8. Taylor recently won best in show at the prestigious American Quilter's Society Show. (Laura Simon)

Lynne Taylor is an artist.

She gets an idea, sits down at her desk and draws it out. But rather than pick up a paintbrush to finish the project, she picks up a needle and fabric instead.

Most people think of quilting as a craft, but for Taylor, it's an art form. Her quilts bear the mark of someone who takes pleasure in the details. They are worlds within themselves, each one revealing something new and surprising at every glance. From afar they seem to be made of striking patterns, but up close streets lined with houses, gardens filled with flowers and the occasional written word will appear.

"The satisfaction I get out of quilting is that I just love creating something new," Taylor said. "I have so many ideas for quilts that I can't get them all done."

Taylor began quilting 25 years ago as a student earning a master's degree in art at Southeast Missouri State University. When it came time for her to complete either a research paper or a project to finish her degree, she chose to do a project and combined her love of sewing with her love of art.

"I've always sewn, but I didn't want to make clothing because you put all that effort into it and it goes out of style," Taylor said. "Quilts never go out of style, so I thought I'd try making quilted pictures for the wall. I did four wall hangings to finish up my master's degree, so that's what got me going on the quilting."

After graduating, Taylor went on to teach art at Scott City Elementary. During her time as a teacher, Taylor often integrated elements of her class projects into her quilt designs, taking inspiration from her students. When she recently retired from teaching, instead of taking a photograph of her students and fellow teachers, she created a quilt bearing small likenesses of her colleagues and the signatures of her students instead. Taylor said the resulting quilt is the most cherished of her collection.

Recently, Taylor translated her creativity into success at this year's American Quilters Society Show in Paducah, Ky., where she won Best of Show in the miniature quilt division.

The American Quilter's Society Show is considered one of the most prestigious quilting competitions in America. Taylor has yet to get one of her large quilts accepted into the show, but four of her miniature quilts have been included during the past few years. Although the first three failed to win prizes, the difficult selection process for entries makes being accepted into the competion an honor.

Having never placed in Paducah, Taylor said winning one of the show's major awards came as a complete surprise.

"When I went to the awards presentation I was hoping to win an honorable mention since I hadn't even placed before," Taylor said. "But then they got to the major awards and announced that I won best in show for my miniature quilt, and I was just blown away. We didn't even have our cameras out."

Barbara Miller, a friend and member of the quilting guild to which Taylor belongs, said Taylor's success in Paducah serves as inspiration for the other members of the group.

"I think anytime you see someone excel like that and receive an award, it encourages everybody to try and do their best," Miller said.

Miller noted her friend's creativity and talent and said that, despite winning such a prestigious award, Taylor is incredibly humble about her success.

"Her quilting is phenomenal," Miller said. "She is very creative and excellent when it comes to executing her ideas. She's a wonderful quilter, but she is such a genuine person. She's very modest about her work, but her work is just excellent."

Taylor said winning the award was one of the most exciting moments of her life, but she has a new goal for next year's competition.

"I would love to get a big quilt into the Paducah show," Taylor said. "That's my next goal."

ssemmler@semissourian.com

388-3648

Pertinent address:

415 Park Street, Paducah, KY

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