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The Kentuck Festival Quilt Thirty Years of Iconic Design by Hallie O’Kelley A Dedication to Traditional and Contemporary Arts and Crafts


Hallie O’Kelley and the History of Her Quilts Screen print and fiber artist Hallie O’Kelley has been making quilt designs for the annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts for the past 30 years. Originally from Iowa, O’Kelley came to Tuscaloosa in 1951 when her husband, a biology professor, was hired at the University of Alabama. She was designing Christmas cards and took a class in screen printing at Arrowmont in Tennessee in the 1970s to learn how to paint on cloth and applique the images. O’Kelley, who has a master’s degree in textiles, buys mercerized cotton print cloth in 100-yard bolts and uses reactive dyes to color her cloth and make designs. Each piece of a Kentuck Festival quilt starts as a plain white piece of cloth. O’Kelley’s designs have been influenced by, among other things, nature, leaves, trees, primitive art, the Incas, and Peruvian design. Depictions of Pre-Columbian warriors and the colors of the quetzal birds themselves have inspired one quilt. Most recently, African images from a show of decorative arts have served to guide her work. This year, for the 42nd annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts, O’Kelley has reprised her inaugural design, using a pine tree pattern. Asked by Kentuck founder Georgine Clarke in 1983 to take over the quilt design after artist Jan Griffes moved away, O’Kelley originally created screen printed tri-color posters in a run of 220 to sell during the festival.


It was Clarke who came up with the idea of a quilt image originally to represent the festival in order to bridge the divide between Southern traditions and contemporary art. It was former Kentuck Executive Director Gary Richardson who asked O’Kelley to create a fabric quilt in 1994. Both a collectable poster and a fabric quilt were made for years afterward until the screen printing of the poster became too labor-intensive. The named fabric quilts are on permanent display in the Georgine Clarke Building and there is a laminated guide denoting the years. Hallie O’Kelley has a piece in the Georgine Clarke “Friendship Quilt,” which is on permanent display in the Georgine Clarke Building at 1922 5th St. in Northport, Ala., on the Kentuck Art Center campus. It is located in the lower left-hand corner of the “Friendship Quilt” and is a composite of images from other quilts. See the “Friendship Quilt” online at www.kentuck.org. O’Kelley sends her quilts each year to competitions in Kentucky and Texas, where they have won a variety of awards ranging from Honorable Mentions to First Place. Visit the West Alabama Quilters Guild tent at the Kentuck Festival this year, Oct. 19-20, 2013, to see Hallie O’Kelley and some more of her work.


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1983

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1984

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1985

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1986

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1987

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1988

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1989

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1990

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1991

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1992

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1993

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1994

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1995

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1996 25th Anniversary Tree

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1997 Log Cabin Pinwheel

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1998 Rolling Star

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 1999 Star Within a Star

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2000 Iowa Star

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2001 Retrospective in a Cube

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2002 October Pinwheel

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2003 Amish Bars

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2004 Kentuck Compass

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2005 Kentuck Pineapple

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2006 Log Cabin Variation

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2007 Kentuck Flower Garden

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2008 Kentuck Pickle Dish

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2009 Festival Diamond

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2010 Nine Patch Variation

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2011 Kentuck 40th Anniversary

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2012 Kentuck 40th Anniversary

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


Kentuck Festival Quilt 2013 Pine Tree

Thirty Years of Kentuck Festival Quilts by Hallie O’Kelley


kentuck quilt book