THE STATE HOUSE in Annapolis is the oldest state house in continuous use in the country. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful, to these eyes.
The State House opens its doors this month with an invitation to the public: Come see your building and a display of contemporary Christmas quilts made by Maryland quilters. The artworks will be on display throughout the building until the end of the month.
Quilting has been a Maryland handicraft since the earliest settlers. Once, and still, a frugal way of recycling old cloth into requisite warmth, the process of quilt design and creation became for many people an important form of self-expression.
As quilters shared ideas and techniques, different styles became associated with specific parts of the country. Baltimore Album quilts, for which many friends made individual squares, then shared in the quilting, have been recognized throughout the world for more than a century. Several contemporary Baltimore Album quilts are in the State House show.
Norma Campbell, exhibit coordinator, is thrilled that Maryland quilters "have been given recognition that you don't have to be dead to have your work appreciated."
Works of art indeed, the quilts are also made to be used as wall hangings or as bed covers. In some cases, the quilts are straight off the quilting frame.
"It's wonderful for the quilters of Maryland to lend these for the public's enjoyment before their families even got to use them," Campbell said.
South County quilter Jean Fries has a work in the show. There's also the Mimi Dietrich quilt that's featured on the latest Smithsonian Pattern Book.
The free quilt show is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except on Christmas. To enjoy it quietly, aim for a Tuesday morning, perhaps.
For a personal touch and a little history, plan to see the show Sunday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
The quilters will be there to talk with visitors, and people can also partake of the Christmas Open House at the Governor's Mansion with Gov. Parris N. Glendening and his wife, Frances, as hosts.
If you are going to see the quilt show Sunday, think about planning your time to include a Christmas concert by Ensemble Galilei at St. John's College at 3 p.m. or 7 p.m.
The group will perform Renaissance music, but its instrumentation and style evoke the energy and excitement of folk music. The ensemble includes guitar and fiddle, Celtic harp, tTC viola da gamba, oboe, bowed psaltery, recorder, penny whistle and percussion instruments.
If you listen to "Performance Today" on National Public Radio, you've had 25 opportunities to hear Ensemble Galilei in the past six years. The group also is featured every Christmas Eve on NPR.
General admission tickets to the Ensemble Galilei concerts in the Great Hall are $15. Tickets for seniors and students are $12. Reserved tickets are available by calling (410) 267-0908. There is a $2 processing fee for credit card orders. If tickets remain, they will be available at the door.
The First Baptist Church in Shady Side will hold a sing-along of seasonal tunes Sunday sponsored by Chesapeake Cultural Arts.
Pianist Betty Hepler will conduct the sing-along carols. Pianist Mary Coleman will accompany solos by soprano Sandy Warner and tenor Giole Settembrini.
The free event is at 7 p.m. Call Mary Coleman at 798-0359 for more information.
Artwork on display
Another South County resident whose artwork is on display in Annapolis is Kelly Richard of Lothian, whose scratchboard illustrations of South County are featured in an exhibition at the Arundel Center this month.
She shares the show with watercolorist Carolyn Councell of Pasadena.
Information: (410) 437-5474.
Pub Date: 12/09/96