Hitting the (quilt) trail

HOUGHTON – The Copper Country is already a destination for many tourists, but the members of one local group are working to add another feature to bring even more.

Anita Campbell, of the organization the Copper Country Quilt Block Trail, said quilt blocks are actually paintings on plywood, which resemble cloth quilts. They are usually 4-feet-by-4-feet or 8-feet-by-8-feet in size. They are usually mounted on buildings.

The smaller ones are often mounted on houses, and the larger sized squares get mounted on large buildings, such as barns.

In June 2013, Campbell was present for the mounting on the outside of the Finlandia University Jutila Center for Global Design and Business in Hancock a quilt block, titled “Storm at Sea” designed by Maggie Dupuis of Copper Harbor.

“It was the kick-off for our project to get as many quilt blocks as possible and create a trail,” she said.

Now, there are six quilt blocks mounted in the Keweenaw, including Calumet, Hancock, Houghton and Jacobsville.

At 7 p.m. on May 14 at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton, Campbell said there will be a free workshop to explain the concept of quilt blocks and a quilt block trail with the intention of getting more people to mount quilt blocks on their buildings.

Campbell said the concept seems to be spreading.

“The quilt block trails are all over the country,” she said.

There are 4,000 quilt blocks mounted in 34 states along 120 designated trails, Campbell said. In one Wisconsin community, the trail is attracting many tourists.

“They have quilt block bus tours,” she said.

The members of the Copper Country Quilt Block trail would like to create a brochure of local quilt blocks, Campbell said.

“What’s happening here is local pride, and encouraging tourists to get off the main roads and explore our beautiful countryside,” she said.

Campbell said she hopes quilt blocks take off locally.

“Wherever your property is, installing a quilt block is like hanging a big smile on your building,” she said.