It will take 324 squares of fabric to make the nine-foot-by-nine-foot quilt for an art installation at True/False Film Fest.
The Community Threads project will not be made by only a few quilters. The entire community has a chance to be involved.
The inspiration to use fiber art came from "test squares" used in sewing and knitting projects to align with the fest's "this is a test" theme.
Wednesday night the organizers of the project, Esther Stroh and Carrie Elliot, led a two hour embroidery circle. In this official library event, most of the seats were taken.
"I'm very excited to be part of this," Jonya Pacey, a participant, said.
The event required reservations. Initially, 24 people signed up and eight were on the waiting list, hoping a seat would open. There will be another Community Threads event at the Daniel Boone Regional Library Jan 28. Participants in that session will use appliqué techniques, which involves stitching patches of fabric onto the quilt square. There is already a waitlist for that event.
"We just love that the community members are coming and testing their skills," Stroh said.
There have been several more informal gatherings to decorate quilt squares and two events at the Columbia Art League for embroidery and appliqué. Two more events are scheduled, but all spots have been filled. The events involve fabric painting and batik — a kind of cloth dying that uses dried wax on the fabric to create a negative when the fabric is dyed.
Community Threads has also helped a group of fifth graders embroider some of the quilt squares. They have also worked with several high school art classes in embroidering for this project.
"It's essentially drawing with thread," Elliot said, "It's a pretty accessible craft."
Stroh has been volunteering at the True/False Film Festival since 2004. She likes to see as many of the documentaries as possible on the weekend of the festival.
"I think I'm going to see 20 and then I end up seeing more like 15," Stroh said.
While it is hard to pick a favorite, Stroh said she particularly enjoyed "I Love Killing Flies," "Order of Myths" and "20 Feet From Stardom." The last film was a particular favorite, and is the only documentary she has ever gone back to see again at the film festival.
Elliot came to the festival a bit later than Stroh. She estimates that she has been doing art installations for True/False for seven years.
When the theme for the festival, "This is a test," was released, there was no immediate inspiration for Elliott.
"I couldn't think of anything, and then suddenly, I had an idea," Elliot said.
For the previous festival, Elliot had done an art installation using recycled plastic. She enlisted her friends and community to give her any clear plastic they had to recycle. People left bags of plastic containers at her door and she ended up with more plastic than she needed for that project.
"That was kind of a little bit of the seed about doing a community-based project," Elliot said.
Elliot had learned to sew from her mother and grandmothers, but had not picked up a needle for about 10 years before starting this project.
Now, Elliott has a drop box on her porch for quilt squares and even some embroidery supplies.
On Jan. 31, all the quilt squares will be machine sewed together by a group of about 12 volunteers. The backing will be printed fabric created by the volunteers, as well. Then, the piece will be quilted using hand stitches. The quilting will stitch the backing, the batting and the quilt squares on edges of the squares to preserve the individual works.
The quilt will hang in the Columbia Art League building from Feb. 27 to the end of March. Every artist from the community will be credited by name.
"This community quilt is a way to commemorate the festival and the community that has supported it for such a long time," Stroh said.