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A new quilt celebrates an old barn, soon to be a new library

A stitch in time for Jackson's Public Library

(Left to right): Dorothy Schiessl, quilt designer, Wendy McVey of the Jackson Historical Society, Betsy Kent, Friends of Jackson Public Library and Carrie Schribner, art teacher at Jackson Elementary. (click for larger version)

Quiltmaker Paula Knight.
May 14, 2009
Nonetheless, the Jackson Historical Society funded a careful disassembly, at least saving the venerable old structure from complete destruction. On another concurrent path the villagers of Jackson had long ago begun a creative process aimed at finding a way to evolve beyond the woefully inadequate, century old town library.

In a harmonic convergence that proves timing is everything, the Trickey Barn will now officially become the new Jackson Public Library. Fundraising is under way and phase one plans call for the exterior shell to be up before the snow flies later this year.

Without even being rebuilt yet, the barn project has already brought hundreds of members of this small community together for a series of events that have included pizza parties and commemorative gatherings as the barn was taken down, with more planned as the year progresses. Nearly every student from the Jackson Grammar School drew or painted a picture of the Trickey Barn, under the tutelage of their art teacher, Carrie Scribner. These pictures were all then included in a widely sold and very popular 2009 calendar.

It was the artwork in this calendar that ultimately became the building blocks for the beautiful new quilt which has been created to mark the occasion of the barn's 150th anniversary and new life in the works as the Jackson Public Library. As noted quilt authority and Valley resident Henry Barber noted, "This quilt has already become a priceless historical work as it commemorates not only the 150th anniversary of a significant Jackson structure, but in addition preserves indefinitely the artwork of the 2008 Jackson Grammar School students!"

Quilter Paula Knight of Glen joined forces with Dorothy Schiessl of Intervale to design and create the quilt, which is now destined to hang in the new library when it is up and running. "When the quilt was finished we showed it at an all school meeting and we asked the kids what they thought we should do with it. They all thought it should be on display somewhere… That's what's so special about Jackson — we have a small community and a small school where the families and kids can come together to create something that will last forever — and it's been a great lesson on architecture!" explained Scribner.

The quilt was created using a technological process known as photo transfer. Each of the student paintings was imprinted to cotton muslin cut into blocks, which were then joined together with a great border design derived from the individual cupolas on each barn drawing.

In the center is a square marking the occasion of the 150th anniversary and another reproducing a recent oil painting by artist Stapleton Kearns, depicting the view from inside the Trickey Barn looking out, before it was taken down. Each square is a work of art unto itself, but the appearance as a whole is quite striking and colorful and indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

And that is what a community can create on a larger scale, as well, when people work together. The new Jackson Public Library will be a vital part of the community for generations to come, just as the last one was.

The phrase "history in the making" keeps coming up in relation to this project. Each step along the way will be documented, ground will be broken, timbers will be washed and raised and eventually the place will take on a life of its own with a past, a present and a future we can only imagine.

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