Serving Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties

The Barn Quilt Heritage Trail - McLean County is a celebration of our county's farming heritage and the talents of local quilters, artists, and poets. In 2014, the project came under the sponsorship of the University of Illinois Extension in Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties.

Area barns and other buildings are being decorated with 8 x 8-foot quilt squares painted on plywood. Participating site owners work with the Barn Quilt Committee to select designs and colors for their barn quilts, and some have worked on the creation of their own barn quilt blocks.

The quilt squares will remain on the buildings at least five years, and a series of additional sites around McLean County will be added each year through 2016. The structures are visible from the road or on a site that is frequently visited. Owners contribute toward the cost of construction and promotional expenses for the project.

Numerous volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, and many businesses and organizations also contribute to the effort to stitch together many elements for this commemorative project that promotes local tourism and highlights the arts and agriculture.

Harold Gregor Illinois Flatscape

For more information about the trail, watch the McLean Barn Quilt Heritage Trail Video, or plan to visit the trail in person.

Barn Quilt Map (for mobile)

Barn Quilt Map

Entire Directory of Barn Quilts

Pieced Together, A Documentary Film

Released in the summer of 2016, "Pieced Together" is the first documentary film about the quilt square trail movement and the woman behind it all, Donna Sue Groves. Director and producer Julianne Donofrio filmed sites in McLean County and interviewed members of the committee representing Barn Quilt Heritage Trail of McLean County. 

To learn more about this documentary, visit the following sites:
www.piecedtogetherdoc.com or 
Facebook.

The Poets

Judith Boudreaux holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She is currently completing a first book of poetry, a collection of short fiction, and has a comic novel under construction. She is also a playwright who has written a three-act '50s farce. Her work has been published in JAMAThe Rambunctious Review (first place in their fiction contest), and Image.

V. Joseph Boudreaux, a retired physician, moved to the Bloomington-Normal community with his wife, Judy, in 2008. Joe has become active in many areas of the community. He is a physician member of the Advocate BroMenn Delegate Executive Committee and participates in the activities of Illinois People's Action. He serves on the Steering Committee of his church, New Covenant Community. Joe is also a volunteer patient advocate. He actively supports Judy's writing career and writes poetry and non-fiction on his own.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of four poetry chapbooks, most recently Nocturnes (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012). Her work appears in numerous print and online journals, including Poetry East, Lake Effect, and Spoon River Poetry Review, and frequently airs on Poetry Radio, WGLT. She taught writing and literature at DePaul University in Chicago and Lincoln College in Lincoln and now serves as poetry editor for Escape Into Life, an international online journal of the arts.

Peg Kirk once taught English and coached the speech team at the former NCHS on Kingsley Street in Normal. Now she volunteers at the McLean County Museum of History, enjoys the theatre, and writes poetry, usually light verse. She has slept under quilts, admired the handiwork of a variety of quilters, but only now knows the delight of seeing quilts appear on the sides of barns.

Bill Morgan has published two chapbooks of poems, Trackings: The Body’s MemoryThe Heart’s Fiction (Dead Metaphor Press, 1998) and Sky With Six Geese (Pudding House Press, 2005), as well as numbers of individual poems in journals. His full-length manuscript, entitled Salvage, is circulating to publishers and contests. For many years he taught in the English Department at Illinois State University and published scholarly studies of Thomas Hardy. Now he is poetry editor for The Hardy Review and co-produces Poetry Radio for WGLT, the NPR affiliate in Normal, Illinois.

Ginny Nappi is a retired psychotherapist who has participated in a local poetry workshop. She has had poems published locally, including one in Heartland Community College’s Muse. She enjoyed visiting and learning from her farm families and recalling the times she worked in tobacco and dairy barns as a teenager in Connecticut.

Ardis Stewart teaches English and Humanities at Heartland Community College. Her poetry has been published in Seeding the SnowRHINOWord-River and Where We Live: Illinois Poets.

M. Irene Taylor studied acting at the University of Illinois and went on to earn her MA in theatre at Illinois State University. Recently retired, Irene is a graduate student in ISU's Department of English. Irene also enjoys her position as coordinator of New Route Theatre's Word Weavers, a creative writing group for members of the local community.

The Process

The poets have created poems for each barn by looking at images of the barn quilt squares and the original quilt patterns, visiting the barns, interviewing the barn owners, and/or studying historical information related to a particular barn or quilt pattern.

The Poems

“Words on Quilts" poems appear on the pages with the site descriptions and photos on this website and in the Official Barn Quilt Heritage Trail – McLean County Guidebook.

Most poems were featured on Poetry Radio on WGLT 89.1FM, offering the best in classic and contemporary poetry, underscored with evocative music. Poetry Radio was a co-production of Illinois State University's Department of English and WGLT. As of 2016, Poetry Radio is no longer on the air.

Hosts: Kirstin Hotelling Zona and Bill Morgan 
Producer: Bruce Bergethon

 

Words on Quilts is a production of the Illinois Voices Theatre and a member unit of the Illinois Theatre Consortium. This program is partially funded by the Town of Normal's Harmon Arts Grant.

Kay Henrichs - Chairperson 2012-2016
Karen Gottlieb - Secretary/Treasurer
Ruthie Cobb - Public Relations
Judy Brown - Voices Theatre
Joe Horine - Photographer
Ken Yanzy - Graphic Designer
Jane Osborn - Graphic Designer
Jo Morrison
June Fitzgerald
Marcia Young
Jeff Woodward
Gordon Ropp
Jim Williams
Connie Carstens
Mary Jane Zook
Evon Long
Reid Young - University of Illinois Extension - (309) 663-8306 ryoun@illinois.edu

Painters

Shirley Boward
Bud and Deb Johnson
Eric and Mysty Vaughn
Kay Henrichs
Karen Gottlieb
Jo Morrison
Sandy Lewis
Mary Jane Zook
Ruth Cobb
Connie Carstens
June Fitzgerald
Donna Dickson
Home Spun 4-H Club
Central Catholic High School art students & teacher Jim Reckard
Richard Seehuus & Carolyn Moon
Wilbur Williamson

Artists

Charlotte Lehman
Taylor Arlis
Kyle Audi
Mike Adams
Sandy Lewis
Darlene Kuglich
Marianne Minnis, A Dash of Splash Decorating
Mary Jane Zook

Poets

Judith Boudreaux
V. Joseph Boudreaux
Peg Kirk
Ardis L. Stewart
M. Irene Taylor
Kathleen Kirk
Bill Morgan

Framers

Danny Basham
Bob Borngasser
Eric Boward
Bud Johnson
Jo Morrison
Kenny Pickett
Marty Pickett
Wilbur Williamson

Photographer

Joe Horine

Graphic Designers

Ken Yanzy and Reid Young

Construction Sites

This year's Barn Quilts were constructed and painted at the Morrison farm, the Henrichs basement and numerous other sites.

Donations

Corn Belt Energy
Mike and Kay Richard, Richard Farms
Bob Fish
Colleen Reynolds
LaMar Advertising

Special Thanks

Harold & Marlene Gregor, Harold Gregor Gallery, Bloomington, Illinois 
Bruce Bergethon, WGLT
Phyllis Coulter
Dale Evans and the Plein Aire Painters
Ralph Endress
Paul Kieser
Sandy Lewis
Darlene Kuglich
Mich Richard
Bill Stimeling
Scott Stimeling
Wilbur Williamson
Dennis Henrichs
Andrew Henrichs
Derek Mead
Tom Wall
Tommy Wall

Assistance with Project

University of Illinois Extension - Livingston, McLean, Woodford Counties 
Don Smith Paint Company
David Davis Mansion State Historic Site staff and volunteers 
Heritage Association of McLean County
Illinois Voices Theatre
Illinois Theatre Consortium
Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Town of Normal – Harmon Arts Grant
Garlic Press Market Café
David Davis Mansion Foundation 
Jane Crawley, Sewing Studio 
Menards, product/paint consultants
Chip Stevens and Mike Moore, Select Screen Prints & Embroidery, Inc.
Jeff, Jim and Kelly Collins, The Michael Collins Foundation
Steve Malliet, president, Normal Corn Belters 
Colleen Reynolds, Heartland Community College
Nate Metzger, Heartland Community College
R.C. McBride, Illinois State University
Leaders on Loan
Julianne Donofrio, filmmaker,"Pieced Together"

Corn Belt Energy Installation Crew

Jerry Daugherty, Maintenance Foreman
Brian Felker, Construction Foreman
Mike Butler, Substation Foreman
Shane Bollhurst, Serviceman