uilts of all shapes, sizes and designs will be available for viewing and purchase at several booths.

People who make jewelry and clothing based on quilting designs also will be there.

You can’t miss a man doing scissor sharpening or the woman who creates all sorts of things with preprinted panels.

There will be booths with long-arm quilting machines, household and antique sewing machines, and tools of the trade, such as rotary cutters and rulers.

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And you have to be sure to pick up a goodie bag, play games and register to win a handmade Christmas quilt.

Organizer Cindy Claycamp said the fifth annual Quilter’s Holiday Extravaganza on Friday and Saturday at Celebrations in Seymour is a good event for those unfamiliar with or new to quilting and the experienced quilters.

This year’s show has 25 vendors from seven states. Claycamp said 900 to 1,200 people attend each year. Admission is $5, which covers both days.

“It’s an opportunity for the buyers to go in one place and visit 25 places, rather than going from Florida to Michigan or from Louisville to Indy and checking out all of the shops,” she said. “It’s like a one-stop shop.”

Claycamp, who lives north of Cortland, said she attends about a dozen shows per year to sell quilts and to check out other people’s products. She often sees vendors who set up at her show at other ones around the country.

“Somebody told me once that when you start a project, you have to do it for five years. After five years, you re-evaluate because if you do it one or two years, you really don’t know if it’s going to be successful or not,” Claycamp said.

“So I said, ‘Well, I’m going to do it for five years and re-evaluate,’ and it has stayed pretty level over the five years,” she said. “It hasn’t really doubled in size or anything, but we have a steady clientele, and they ask, ‘Can we do it again?’ and the vendors keep wanting to come back.”

Something different

Claycamp’s show was at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds the first three years. Then last year, she moved it to Celebrations and was happy with that venue, which is right off Interstate 65 and has plenty of parking.As soon as the show is over, she books the venue for the next year. Then in the spring, she starts organizing the event by sending out letters to the previous year’s vendors and getting them lined up.

“When I started, I wanted it to be southern Indiana, but we just didn’t have enough southern Indiana (quilting) shops,” she said. “But now, it has expanded to represent other places, and that makes for a good show because there’s a variety of things. Every quilt shop has its own flavor. They may all buy the same fabric from distributors; but when they take it back to their shop and make something, they all do something different.”

Claycamp said she started sewing at an early age but didn’t learn how to quilt until after she married her husband, Paul, 50 years ago.

“I didn’t know (what all went into quilting) until I got married, and my mother-in-law (Selma Claycamp) made sure I learned,” Claycamp said, smiling. “She was a quilter, and I could sew, but I had never quilted. One of the first things she said was if you can make your wedding dress, which I did, then you can make a quilt.”

Claycamp started making quilts by hand and later learned how to use a machine. Over the years, she has made full-size bed quilts, wall quilts, baby quilts and table runners.

‘Still my favorite’

Quilts can take anywhere from a month or two to several years to complete, depending on the size and details involved, Claycamp said.“I like to get them done,” she said. “I do mostly machine piecing, and now, I do a lot of machine quilting; but I also like to hand quilt. That’s still my very favorite.”

Years ago, Claycamp said, she owned antique and fabric shops, including one in Jackson Park Shopping Center in Seymour. But when Walmart came to town, the fabric shop closed.

For about 20 years, while attending shows around the country and selling quilts, she has operated as Quilting Memories.

The biggest show is a weeklong event in April at Paducah, Kentucky, with quilts from all over the world.

“It’s just a fascinating place to be at,” Claycamp said. “These people roam around and visit and shop, and it’s just a fun week with quilt people.”

At one point, she decided to take classes to be a quilt appraiser, which involves learning the history, measurements, fabric and style of a quilt and putting a dollar value on it.

“I really liked the history of the quilts and studying where the patterns came from and where the fabrics came from and why certain styles were popular in this area,” she said. “A pattern would be called something here and something different in Texas.”

She became a certified quilt appraiser through the American Quilt Society in 2003 and is one of about 100 in the United States and one of just three in Indiana.

“It allows us to actually appraise a quilt like a home appraiser or a jewelry appraiser would do,” she said. “We actually prepare a legal document that is good in a court of law with a certification stamp on it.”

Ex

pertise optionalClaycamp has gone to quilt shows to serve as an appraiser. People can pay for an appraisal or choose an oral appraisal, which doesn’t include a written document but will tell you the value of a quilt.“We really recommend that people who make new quilts or have antiques to have them appraised,” she said. “You should do that with your antique furniture in your home, too, and with your jewelry. It protects you.”Claycamp shares what she knows about quilting by conducting classes at the local library and lecturing at local quilt guild meetings.

“I pick easy things to get people started, because I like them to make something and get it finished, rather than struggle with something real difficult and never finish it and get discouraged,” she said.

Claycamp is a member of three quilt guilds — Small Town Quilters in Seymour, Columbus Star Quilters in Columbus and Indiana State Quilters Guild.

The one in Seymour has about 20 members and meets the third Thursday of each month at the senior citizens center in the downtown. The Columbus group has more than 60 members and meets the first Wednesday of every month. The state guild meets a few times a year, and Claycamp served as president for four years.

“Most quilt guilds, you don’t have to be an expert,” she said. “You can be a beginner and join it, and people will lead you along the way. They teach. They share. I don’t know anybody in any guild who isn’t willing to reach out to a beginner and help them learn.”

Claycamp also has been involved with the Quilters Hall of Fame, having served on its board for six years through this past July.

“Every year, they select a person who has contributed to the quilting world in some way or another and honor that person,” Claycamp said.

‘Wonderful friends’

Located in Marion, the international hall of fame is a national historic site that was the home of Marie Webster, an early 20th century quilting entrepreneur.“It’s a cool place to go visit,” Claycamp said. “They have exhibits year-round, and they put on a celebration in July.”

This past spring, Claycamp retired after working for Bevers Family Pharmacy for 20 years. That gave her more time to quilt. She also recently helped sew costumes for Trinity Lutheran High School’s play.

Retirement also gave her time to start working on a quilting book. She chose 12 of James Whitcomb Riley’s poems and had quilts made to match them, and the book will include a picture of each quilt, directions on how to make them and historical tidbits.

“This book has been in my brain for five years,” Claycamp said. “When I retired, I was challenged to get the book and get it done, so I’m working on it.”

She expects the book to be released in December and be available for purchase at quilt shops, quilt shows, museums, Riley’s homes in Greenfield and Lockerbie and possibly at the Riley Hospital for Children gift shop.

Claycamp said that might not be the only book she writes.

“I’ve already got ideas,” she said of other book projects.

She also plans to keep quilting.

“It’s just something that I enjoy,” she said. “I get a lot of pleasure from it, and interacting with other quilters, I’ve made some wonderful friends over the years from all over and had some really cool experiences.”

Hauling tubs of fabric and quilts to set up at shows is a lot of hard work, she said, but she wants to keep going to those, too.

“The older I get, the harder it gets, but I still enjoy it at this point,” she said.

If you go

What: Fifth annual Quilter’s Holiday Extravaganza

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Celebrations, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 101, Seymour

Who: Sponsored by Cindy Claycamp’s business, Quilting Memories; open to the public

Cost: $5, which covers both days

Features: Quilt shops with various products; antique vendors; Christmas gifts, projects, fabrics and patterns; certified quilt appraisals; demonstrations; goodie bags; door prizes; games; register to win a handmade Christmas quilt

Information: 812-216-2225, quiltersholidayextravaganza.com

Claycamp file

Name: Cindy Claycamp

Age: 68

Hometown: Indianapolis

Residence: Lived north of Cortland for 50 years

Education: Columbus High School (1964)

Occupation: Retired from Bevers Family Pharmacy after 20 years; operates her own business, Quilting Memories

Family: Husband of 50 years, Paul Claycamp; five children; 14 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.