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East County Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 3 years ago

Lakewood Ranch quilter recognized at Florida Quilt Competition

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Central Park resident's artistry honored at prestigious show.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

May it rest in peace.

That pretty much sums up how Central Park's Evelyn Townsend felt about one of the first quilts she ever made.

It was born in 1992 at a time Townsend took up quilting because she wanted to make something nice for her two toddler children, Rick and Elizabeth. "I painted flowers on blocks and sewed them together," she said.

Evelyn Townsend said has made about 70 quilts over the years.

No matter what she did, though, she never really liked that darned quilt.

Ten years later, she gave up trying to save it, and stashed it into her attic. Once in a while, through the years, she would go up to the attic, pull it out, and work on it some more.

Until 2016. Townsend and her husband, Fred Townsend, held an estate sale at their Richmond, Va., home because they were moving to Florida. Goodbye unfinished quilt.

"It truly was ugly," Townsend said. "It was blue, pink and beige, but the colors were dull."

On a visit to Townsend's Central Park home, it is hard to imagine she could produce such a thing. Townsend brought out many of her works — she doesn't display them on her walls so Fred doesn't have her hobby forced upon him — and brilliant colors and designs were a feast for the eyes.

"Your failures teach you that colors do matter," she said. "You look at your quilt and think, 'What are the colors saying?'"

The colors in Townsend's quilts seem to be saying she is a talented artist.

That was the opinion of the World Quilt Show Florida, which just selected two of her quilts to display at the 2018 Florida Quilt Competition Jan. 18-20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Evelyn Townsend said her last seven quilts all have been artistic creations that are meant to hang from a wall.

Her quilts "Hawaiian Delight" and "New York Yankees" will be competing as finalists for prizes among the state's most talented quilters. Winners will be announced on the World Quilt Florida website at quiltfest.com.

Townsend isn't concerned about winning a blue ribbon, but she does enjoy a little recognition after putting in hundreds of hours into her art.

"This really is about fun and creation," she said. "I get countless hours of pleasure from creating these quilts. It is a great stress reliever and you can lose yourself in it."

She has won a blue ribbon in a national competition (The Oaks in Philadelphia sponsored by The Mancuso Show Management which is putting on the Florida event) in 2015 for "Use of Color."

"I'm not even close to the level of the folks who win blue ribbons," she said. "The talent out there is phenomenal."

Evelyn Townsend said has donated about a third of her quilts to charity.

She has made approximately 70 quilts since 1992 and about a third of them have gone to charities, nonprofits or homeless shelters. She once sold one of her quilts for $1,200, which isn't much considering it costs $400 to $500 in materials to make a 98-inch by 98-inch quilt. That's not counting the time.

It's just about expressing herself through her art, enjoying her craft, and of course, learning lessons.

"That first quilt taught me that even if you don't like it, someone else may," she said. "Even if I don't like something I am working on, I plow through because I know it could be used by a charity or a shelter. I learned that you always finish what you start."

Her "New York Yankees" quilt was selected for the 2018 Florida Quilt Competition.
Her "Hawaiian Delight" was selected for the 2018 Florida Quilt Competition.

 

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