May Term quilts on display in Farnham Galleries

by Peter KaspariStaff Writer

A current exhibit in the Farnham Galleries in Mary Berry Hall is showcasing the work a few crafty Simpson sewers. Last May, a group of students were enrolled in the May Term course Symmetry, Sewing and Service, taught by Professor of Mathematics Murphy Waggoner.

“I was watching a TV show and I thought [quilting] would be a great way to illustrate the math concept of symmetry,” Waggoner said. “This was the third course that involved quilting [but] it was the first time I used quilting to illustrate symmetry.”

Senior Chelsy Croson was one of the students enrolled in the course.

“It was fun doing something unique and having a nice experience,” Croson said.

Senior Laura Hupp was also enrolled in the course.

“My mom had done some sewing and I had a little experience with that,” Hupp said. “I also thought it would be interesting to do a hands-on project instead of just being taught for three hours.”

Students in the course not only learned about how to make quilts, but also learned about all the different types of symmetry and how the concepts apply to quilting.

“Not all repeated patterns are the same,” Waggoner said. “They learned how to look at quilts and classify patterns.”

Waggoner also added that “there are 17 different classifications of wallpaper patterns.”

Other skills students in the course learned were how rotation, translation and reflection affect a design. Using these skills, they worked in groups to create nine different quilts.

“We worked really hard on it,” Croson said.

Hupp enjoyed the freedom the students were allowed to have with their designs.

“They could be as elaborate or as simple as you wanted it,” Hupp said.

The nine quilts will be available for the public to see until mid-January. After that, they will all be donated to a charity called “Caring Connections.”

“They are a county government organization,” Waggoner said. “They distribute baby quilts to all newborns in Warren County. Various people contribute to the charity.”

Students who took the course agree that it was an experience that they will never forget, and one that they hope others will be able to participate in.

“I hope they offer the class again, because it’s a really unique experience,” Croson said.

Hupp agrees that the course was a great and relaxing experience.

“It was great just being able to work at your own pace,” Hupp said. “I hope whoever sees my quilt enjoys it.”