As told by Catherine Norr

It’s an affair to remember. A once a year rendezvous that I anticipate with a quiet smile. This January of 2004, I drive to Northville, NY. The roads are plowed, high snow banks on either side. I cross the bridge over Sacandaga Lake and pull into the parking lot of the Inn at the Bridge. I’m early. I wait in a cozy living room. The fireplace is lit, couches and chairs circle one end of the room. Rich wood banisters, trim and flooring glow and add to the warmth and charm.

Secret intrigue? No. Yet nonetheless it is a romantic and special event. A varied group of people is gathering for the first of several meetings. We begin to create a one-of-a-kind quilt that celebrates the unique Adirondack Mountains and celebrates creativity.

To me, the process signifies a small example of community at its best. Many individual parts become bound together in a beautiful, practical work of art, linked by a common theme. It is a project that fosters camaraderie and beauty. To some newcomers like myself, it teaches the ancient skill of applique quilting.

A fund-raiser for Sacandaga Valley Arts Network (SVAN), the completed quilt is displayed during spring and summer months at many community events. The winning ticket gets drawn in August.

This year is the fifth year of the Adirondack Quilt. It was the inspiration of, and coordinated for the first time, in January of 2000 by Judith Plotner, a professional artist specializing in fabric art, and a transplant to Bleecker, NY from New York City. The fundraiser has generated an average of $3,000.00 per year for operating costs for SVAN. Participants in the quilt project come from many different directions: Saratoga, Schenectady, Mayfield, Edinburg, Northville, Gloversville , Johnstown, Bleecker and even one person who lives part time in Rochester, NY and part time in Speculator.

Each year a particular theme is chosen. The quilt completed for 2003 was titled “In the Treetops.” Squares depicted butterflies, birds, squirrels, bears, a rope swing complete with child-letting-go-into-lake. All included branches and leaves. Another year, we each created scenes of Adirondack Outdoor Recreation. Boating, fishing (both summer and ice), skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, camping, and bug-watching were represented. This year the theme is “Adirondack Barns.” For these, we are using as models photographs taken by artists involved with another SVAN project, “The Barn Project.”

I look forward to hand-stitching in January. Leaning over my individual square, focusing on each shape and stitch, is an appropriately quiet and meditative exercise for the season. It well matches the muffled, blanketed landscape during these reflective months. Soon enough, the squares, like a winter harvest, will be gathered, spread out on a table, and unified into a feast for the eyes. It’s an old tradition, made new again.