Barn quilts honor the economic, cultural, and historical contribution of ranching and farming to our rural communities, while celebrating one of America’s historic art forms, the quilt block. Barn quilts become local landmarks helping to preserve our rural heritage and provide points of interest for visitors and sightseers. They contribute to local economies by incorporating art, agriculture, and local culture with an effort to promote tourism on the local, state, and national level. In the Sierra Valley, Barn quilts enhance local events like the Tour de Manure bicycle tour, creating destination points along the cycling route. The Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Project is centered in the Sierra Valley, which includes eastern Sierra County and portions of Plumas County.
Barn quilts are painted quilt blocks - usually single blocks fashioned on boards and then mounted on a barn. Quilt blocks come in all sizes, but traditionally are large, between 6ft x 6ft and 8ft x 8ft, depending on the size of the hosting structure. The pattern for a particular barn quilt may be chosen for myriad reasons. Often the barn quilt is a replica of a painted quilt that resides on the property or honors a loved one. A pattern may be selected because of its name; "Corn and Beans" is popular among farmers. Sometimes, the barn quilt is simply one whose pattern is appealing to either its creators or its owners.
Barn quilt trails can be found in rural counties throughout America. Barn quilt trails usually include a map of local barn quilts and lead tourists through the countryside, providing information on local history, culture, landscape, and may include other points of interest including local businesses. Groups including cyclists, motorcycle clubs, and Sunday drivers may enjoy a ride through the scenic Sierra Valley following the barn quilt trail.
Information on barn quilt trails throughout the nation may be found on line at barnquiltinfo.com.
The Sierra County Arts Council received a grant (Local Impact Program Grant) from the California Arts Council (CAC) to support rural and under-served communities through grant opportunities for small arts organizations.
The Sierra County Board of Supervisors and local organizations such as the Mountain Star Quilters and the Sierraville School Recreation Association played an essential role in making this project a success. Dedicated community volunteers worked countless hours painting the barn quilts while other volunteers helped ranchers hang the finished quilts on local barns. The Swiss Star - Swiss Flag - Barn Quilt seen here in the painting stage is now hanging on the Griffin Barn. The Devine Barn in Calpine received this beauty "Sierra Star" and can be seen from Hwy. 89.
Barn Quilts have taken over the Sierra Valley. You will see them on homes, barns, businesses, and historic building throughout the valley adding color and culture to our local ranching and farming communities. The Sierra County Arts Council could not have created these amazing works of art without the hard work, talent and dedication of local volunteers. These volunteers, centered at the Sierraville School Community Center, have given an invaluable contribution to their community through this project and they are still making barn quilts that you may purchase. As the project has grown the Arts Council is pleased to see it become a source of artistic inspiration to our volunteers. To purchase a barn quilt please follow this link: http://www.sierravalleybarnquilts.org/
The art and agriculture communities of Plumas and Sierra Counties are inviting the public to spend an awesome autumn Day, enjoying the history, culture and bounty of one of its treasures: Sierra Valley. Visitors will travel the Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail, with great views of Sierra Valley Barn Quilts and opportunities to visit market farms, working ranches, and a pumpkin patch, and to sample the wares of artists of every color – wood, paint, glass, ceramic, metal, fiber and more.
The event offers a window into the past, when Sierra Valley was home to a large number of family-run dairies that supplied milk, cream and butter to the Comstock Lode miners in Virginia City. Guests will have a rare opportunity to visit privately owned 100+ year-old dairy barns, many built with hand-hewn timbers and wooden pegs, still serving today’s working ranches. Inside and around the barns, farms and other historic sites, talented local artists will be showing and selling their wares. Visitors will be offered opportunities to tour the sites and learn about the history and current uses and operations.
The Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail event also offers children’s activities, artist demonstrations, inspired education about the sources of our food, and a prize drawing, featuring a keepsake passport for collecting stamps of local cattle brand insignia, artist’s marks and more along the Trail.
For more information visit www.sierravalleyartagtrail.org