Monday, July 03, 2006

Imaginative Images in Cloth Sparkle at CDPL Gallery

As July fireworks burst forth and shower their sparkling beauty into the sky, so too the imaginative images of Sara Kleihauer shower their brilliance onto the newly surfaced walls of the Library's Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery, from Monday, July 3 until Monday, July 31, 2006.

Sara Kleihauer, aka "Crafty Lady" has been exploring as many creative mediums as she could find for most of her life. She has never been one to sit still for very long. Retiring in 2000, Sara moved to Crawfordsville and took a job at The Sewing Connection where she learned about fabric and how it could be manipulated into beautiful and intuitive designs using the art of quilting. From then on she was hooked and hasn't stopped quilting since.

Her quilting ideas, designs and productions bubble to the surface of her being in the middle of the night, at a quilt show, while sitting on the back porch or taking her golden retriever "Libby" for a walk. Of course when those ideas float to the surface, they MUST be dealt with IMMEDIATELY, if not sooner!

Sara's artistic creations and experiments speak passionately, but not necessarily in the skilled manner to which she aspires nor the one taught her by talented Sugar Creek Quilt Guild members, and most especially teacher Anita Hardwick and mentor Jean Goebel. Humbled by the invitation to exhibit at the Library in spite of what she considers "imperfections" in her work, Sara says, "if given the chance to re-create the item of concern, she wouldn't change a thing for each quilt speak volumes to her, just the way they are" . . .

Having fun with fabric is definitely Sara's bailiwick. She loves to design and create new patterns, figure out complex ones (with or without the actual pattern), and sometimes just play with fabric to see what happens.

She doesn't call herself a "serious quilter", for she has yet to create an "heirloom quilt" (haven't even started one to stash under the bed yet), but eats, sleeps and dreams quilting. She spends all her vacations visiting quilt shops and attending out-of-town Quilt Shows.

Born and raised in a small Northern Ohio town provided Sara with a perfect stepping stone to begin an exciting and adventure-filled life. After two years at Ohio University, she married and moved to Greece where she bicycled all over Europe. Returning to the US on her own, she settled in McHenry, Illinois where she worked in the research laboratories of the Quaker Oats company and met her second husband Ken Farman to whom she was married for 18 years preceding his death.

When she married husband number three, Chris Kleihauer, she not only became his wife, but a step-mom to a son 21, and two daughters 8 and 12. Though this marriage changed her entire life, Sara was so grateful to have the children and grandchildren, who continue to delight and amaze her every day, when Chris passed away just a few years later.

Sugar Creek Quilters and Outta the Box Quilters have become Sara's newest family and support group. She thrives on their workshops, retreats and quilt bees. She recently joined Common Threads Quilt Guild of Lafayette as well. She enjoys teaching patchwork, especially new techniques. Once she discovers something she simply can't wait to share it -- both the technique and the quilt itself. All her quilts are sewn on the machine, and are machine quilted as well.

Sara started "Journal Quilting" after seeing a group of journal quilts at the Chicago Illinois Quilt Show. These are roughly page-size quilts representing something she is struggling with at the moment. She often uses them to try out a new technique in a smaller format, but more often she presents herself with the challenge of creating something ordinary that has happened that month. Recently a "Journal Quilt" appeared depicting Sara's frustration with the Japanese Beetles resting on and stripping the leaves and flowers of her prized Rose Of Sharon! Another depicts what goes on inside her head in a self-portrait.

Do visit the library's gallery and experience first-hand the firecracker beauty of this unique and multi-talented woman's quilts sparkling from the walls for your viewing pleasure. See you there!

Diane Hammill
CDPL Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery Coordinator

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