Maybe you've seen one before, on a drive down a Tennessee rural byway. Hanging there on the weathered face of an old grey barn, a square of bright color. Maybe you didn't give it much thought. Like the barn itself, they seem as if they are part of the landscape, as if they just belong there same as a tree or a river.
(Bears Paw at Crockett Tavern, Morristown, Tennessee)
(Garden Path: Old Town Variety Shop, Morristown, Tennessee)
These geometric designs, often hand painted onto a wooden square and hung from a building - barn or otherwise - are regarded as barn quilts. They resemble a single block from a quilt, sometimes patterned after a family heirloom that grandmother sewed long ago. These barns are located across America's byways, in pastures and fields, and in the small town squares and Main Streets. They represent, in their own way, the identity of the farmer and their family. They have names like Bears Paw and Pineapple Log Cabin, Country Decision and Sunburst.
In between the Cumberland Plateau and the Great Smoky Mountains, there are literally hundreds of them, which makes East Tennessee the ideal location for the 2016 National Quilt Trail Gathering. From August 10-13, 2016, in Greeneville, Tennessee's General Morgan Inn and Conference Center, barn quilt enthusiasts from across the country will convene for a series of related exhibits, vendors and workshops.
(Mountain Lily Variation: Museum of Appalachia, Clinton, Tennessee)
(Sunburst: Rocky Top General Store, Harriman, Tennessee)
(Mountain Variation, Blaine, Tennessee)
For more of Tennessee's barn quilt trail, check out the county by county map and hit the road for a trip unlike any other you've taken before.
(Pineapple Log Cabin: Downtown Rogersville, Tennessee)