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Jacksonville quilter's work selected for national contest

A Jacksonville quilter’s first entry in one of the nation’s largest quilt shows has been accepted for display and will compete for honors.

Terri Budesa’s “Lost in Translation” was accepted for the fall show put on by the American Quilter’s Society, scheduled for Sept. 11-14 in Paducah, Kentucky, home of The National Quilt Museum.

Fewer than 700 quilts are accepted, and contestants compete for $121,000 in awards.

“I kind of did it as a lark. I was going to go (to the show) with a girlfriend anyway,” said Budesa. “I was shocked when I got the acceptance letter.”

Diane Mitchell of Avery, California, a friend since they were 9 years old, urged Budesa to enter the contest. The pair are going to the show and to tour the museum.

“My friend has always wanted to go to Paducah. She is a quilter too,” said Budesa, who had attended an AQS show in Nashville previously and has entered quilts in competitions before. She has yet to win a prize. Winners will be announced at a Sept. 12 gala dinner.

“Lost in Translation” was entered in the Wall Hangings First AQS Entry category. Organization officials said they received 275 entries in that category, and 31 were selected for display. Prizes in the category total $3,500.

Budesa created the quilt from a pattern by Jacqueline DeJonge of Holland, who gave her permission to enter the piece. Budesa met her last year.

Many quilters use patterns by others to create the art, Budesa said. DeJonge titled the piece “Circle of Life.” There were instructions that had been translated from Dutch to English by the designer’s husband, but Budesa felt at a loss to understand portions of them, leading to her title. Her entry measures 67 by 67 inches.

While DeJonge provided a cover sheet with colors, Budesa and others make choices on the type of fabrics and colors they use.

“I’ve always had an affinity for fabric and thread and sewing machines. I like to play with the fabric and color and just the feel of the fabric,” said Budesa. “I like to choose all my own colors. You have a vision in your head, and sometimes you kind of second guess yourself. Not many, if any, have ended up in the trash.”

Results from the same pattern can be very different, said Budesa. At shows she has seen patterns she has used done by other quilters.

“It’s a really head-scratching thing sometimes,” said Budesa. “I see the same pattern, but it will look entirely different sometimes.”

Budesa is uncertain of her chances of winning a prize. A number of entrants make their living by entering contests for prizes. AQS holds a half-dozen shows annually, mostly east of the Mississippi. If a contestant takes the prize money, the quilt then belongs to the AQS.

A jury first selects quilts from photo submissions. Selected quilts are then mailed to AQS for the show. There are 15 categories competing for cash awards. A best in show winner is determined in a 24-hour public voting contest on the internet.

Budesa is the first in her family to quilt as a hobby, but there are quilts from great-grandmothers who were strictly utilitarian, she said. She started quilting in the mid-1990s but ramped things up in 2012 after she retired from her position as a financial aid officer for Rogue Community College.

She has completed 65 quilts. Forty-two of the quilts were put together entirely by the artist. Most were done on her sewing machine, but about a half-dozen were stitched by hand. The others, including the show entry, were assembled by others after she did the selection and cutting, a common practice in quilting.

Budesa has sold a few quilts, made some as gifts for family and friends, but has retained most of her production. She’s also kept a journal detailing how each one was conceived and produced.

“I just thought it might be interesting to someone. They will inherit a big stack of quilts and know what was going on when I was quilted them,” said Budesa.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Terri Budesa’s “Lost in Translation”