Acclaimed Quilter Teaches Unique Technique

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Fabric, thread, yarn, silk flowers, beads and netting are combined with a unique technique to create dazzling works of fiber art.

Gina Perkes of Payson will teach the technique -- called landscape collage -- at the first Rim Country Quilt Roundup in November.

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Gina Perkes is one of two local quilters who will be sharing their skills in classes during the November Rim Country Quilt Roundup. Her class will be on landscape collage. Students will learn to create quilted wall hangings that incorporate fabric, beads, silk flowers, threads and yarns.

"In landscape collage you layer fabrics, beads, threads, yarns and silk flowers (to create a wall hanging) and encase it with netting. Then you quilt over the embellishments to hold them in place," Perkes said.

Her sample piece is about 24-inches-by-28-inches, but an individual can make a work larger or smaller.

At the class, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 4, Perkes will have kits for participants including all the elements needed to create a landscape collage. She is designing the kits herself, but has not yet started putting them together.

"It goes pretty fast," she said of the quilting project. Perkes was able to put her sample together in a single day.

She does not claim the technique is something of her own design.

"I took a variety of techniques and turned them into my own. That is what most quilters do."

Her inspiration for landscape collages comes from looking at pictures and other artworks and figuring out how they can be translated into a quilting project.

She said the collages would make great gifts, and a different one could be done for each season.

"The technique is very adaptable and you can do a lot with it," she said.

Perkes is an award-winning quilter, but has only taught two other classes before agreeing to present the collage class at the Quilt Roundup. She said she would love to talk about quilting to groups, especially children.

Perkes has only quilted for about seven years, but she has inspired the women in her immediate family to take it up. In fact, her family has become so prolific at quilting, they will be the featured artists in the exhibit being held in conjunction with the program in November.

Works by Perkes; her daughter, Rylie, 10; her mother, Debbie Vaughn; and grandmother, Arleen Logan; all of Payson, will be part of the special display at the quilt show. Some of the pieces will be collaborative efforts by the family.

"Rylie started quilting when she was just 7," Perkes said.

Perkes was given her start in quilting at a beginners class at The Quilter's Outpost. She still recommends the class to people wanting to learn.

From that hometown beginning, Perkes has gone on to win thousands of dollars in prize money at state-, national- and international-level contests.

Last month she won Best of the American Quilter's Society Quilt Exposition in Tennessee. Her top entry is called "Masquerade" and measures 68-inches-wide-by-68-inches-long. It represents hundreds of hours of work.

Another quilt, "Raspberry Truffle," earned a second place in the AQS show, which draws entries from throughout the world.

"Both were original designs. The ‘Raspberry Truffle' was 79 inches wide and 79 inches long. It was the biggest quilt I've ever made," Perkes said.

She enters quilt contests for a large part of the year. The first show she enters each year is the Arizona show in March, then in May she competes in the Machine Quilter's Showcase. In August 2004, she participated in the International Quilt Association show. This year, she sent her work to the AQS Exposition.

Perkes plans to enter her AQS-winning quilts in the juried Road to California show in January.

"I'm always going for a contest. I haven't started on my next project yet. It's just at the back of my mind, but the fabric's in the mail," Perkes said.

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