Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Historic Building...Contemporary Quilts

At 420 Main Street in North Little Rock, AR there stands a building that has gone from holding letters and packages to holding books. It was built in 1931-1932 as the first stand-alone post office building in the city. In 2011 the United States Postal Service announced the closure of of 3,700 post offices. In 2012, this post office was officially closed leaving this historic building vacant.

Stop for a moment and think about all of the people who entered these doors during those 79 years. Imagine the old cars lining the streets and the patrons visiting on the steps. 

I've seen this building standing empty and wondered if it would be saved. So many times there just isn't enough funds available for restoration of historic buildings. One day as I was walking down Main Street I saw caution tape blocking off the square where this building sits and several constructions workers around. A dumpster was sitting outside the front door and I could hear sounds of hammering. For a moment I was fearful they were tearing it down.  I was close enough to one of the workers to question what was going on. Much to my relief, he told me they were renovating the old post office and turning it into a library which opened in April of this year.

I went to the library recently to see their newest exhibit, The Sum of Many Parts. Quilt making has come a long way since it's early years of providing warmth. They are now considered pieces of art. I'm not saying the old quilts weren't art, they were, but they weren't usually used as decorative pieces. Quilts have been a big part of my family. My grandmother and mother were both quilters and we sleep under a quilt that I made. 

There's a revival of quilt making lately with a contemporary look and brighter colors.

The small quilt on the left, Out Of The Box, was created  in a unique shape, not the usual square or rectangle. The quilt on the right, Metamorphosis,  began as another project, but the designer was disappointed with the project. She then painted over the entire piece with black and metallic paint. The tree and moon are painted on the black cloth; the leaves are appliqued.

The quilting always amazes me.
(machine quilted above and hand quilted below)

The quilt below was my favorite. It was a large quilt. This is only the center portion. I loved the color combination. I think it really reminded me of fall which I'm so looking forward to!

It was a beautiful exhibit highlighting a range of quilting styles, techniques, and textiles. As always when I go to a quilt exhibit I come away inspired and ready to uncover the sewing machine! 


  1. Wow! There are some beautiful quilts there! Our original post office is a beautiful building. It ceased being a post office before we moved here 30 years ago. At first it was used as a federal office building but then the feds decided they didn't need it. After sitting empty for a while, it became our Arts Center where there are visual, musical, multi-media, dance classes, etc. So funny that both these gorgeous buildings ended up being used for the arts. And do you know what? Our original post office is a far nicer building than the new, modern one. Progress?

  2. Cathy, this post just makes my heart glad. The renovation of the historic post office into a library is wonderful in itself, and then this display of gorgeous creativity on top of it.....just WOW! So uplifting.

  3. WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!! The re-purposing of the historic Building, the quit stories...all of it!!!.

  4. This exhibit space in the library is wonderful. I also grew up with quilts, thinking of them as only function. But I definitely have concluded that they are art. Look at those patterns and stitches, all the hours spent creating such beauty. It's a lovely exhibit.

  5. I love old post offices, we have one that is still in use in the town next to us. I prefer to go to that one since it is usually less busy.

  6. I am thrilled that such a gracious building, once a post office, has a new life as a library. Hurrah for visionaries and preservationists who save these treasures.


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