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A life's work in quilting

Quilts in all sizes, colors and patterns line the walls of the Whitewater Valley Arts Association, 402 Central Ave., this month in a show featuring the work of Myra Galloway. Helping put up the display on Wednesday were Marilyn Robertson, left, and Diana Cooley, members of the Franklin County Quilt Batts, a group in which Gallowayhad been active. An opening reception kicks off the exhibit from 6-8 p.m. Friday.

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

As they hung more than 30 quilts, women who call themselves Quilt Batts reflected on their talented friend who made all of them.

Four members of the Franklin County Quilt Batts hung quilts made by Myra Galloway at the Whitewater Valley Arts Association gallery on Wednesday. The show of Galloway’s quilts will be on display there starting with an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday and continuing until Friday, May 3.

To hear the women talk, it became obvious that Galloway would have been there hanging quilts if it had been someone else’s show. When it came to quilts and quilting, Galloway always helped, they said.

She passed away last May 25 at the age of 69, having fulfilled her desires to visit a grandchild in New Zealand and make a parachute jump. 

“When I first met her we were getting ready for the (Franklin County) Quilt Show and every time we hung another quilt, she would say, ‘That’s beautiful,’” Nancy Bodnar, president of the Quilt Batts, said.

Galloway, an active member of the Quilt Batts, frequently gave lessons to that group.

“Once she learned a new technique, she wanted to come back and teach it,” Peggy Ratz, treasurer, said. “Even when she was ill, she would come as often as she could.”

Ratz described her as “very positive, uplifting, funny.”

Sharon McQueen, president of the Whitewater Valley Arts Association, agreed with that description, saying Galloway had been an essential force with the association, in addition to being a talented artist. She painted in acrylics and oils and worked in stained glass, in addition to raising a garden and three children and loving on four grandchildren. She was vice president of Kappa Kappa Sigma sorority at the time of her deathand had been a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for children.

She’d been ill for months but was “just such a trooper,” McQueen recalled. “She still tried to participate in everything. Her spirit was such an inspiration.”

As they unfolded box after box of her quilts, the Quilt Batts had a hard time deciding which to hang. Galloway wanted to try every quilting technique. The display includes patterns called crossed canoes, a traditional pattern; there are rag quilts; designs in embrodery and in counted cross stitch; there is one with bright pink flamingoes; there are flowers, landscapes; and there are appliques.

The reception, which includes light refreshments, is free and open to the public in the Arts Association gallery, 402 Central Ave. It is regularly open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, and whenever the flag is flying at the entrance.

As they worked, the Quilt Batts said their own show, next month, will have a special display of Galloway’s work. That group of about 40 quilters started about 30 years ago and now meets monthly in Brookville. Batts, by the way, refers to the fluffy batting that fills the space between the layers of cloth in a quilt.