BY LOGAN MCCOURNTEY –
To those who hear the name Sharon Chambers, they automatically think about quilting. Why quilting? Because Sharon has a unique ability to create a variety of wonderful hand-finished quilts that can ‘wow’ anyone. With beautiful colors and a variety of designs, anyone looking at Sharon’s masterpieces will be impressed with the artwork in front of them.
Sharon and her husband, Pete, moved to Mena 17 years ago after a blow out on their boat trailer made them stop. After being helped by Mr. Abbott at Coast to Coast, they drove back to Mesquite, Tex., impressed by the community feel of Mena. After looking into real estate, the Chambers bought some land in the area and in 1997 they built their retirement home. Since moving to the area, the Chambers have been extremely involved in local volunteerism, but more specifically, Sharon is involved in the local quilt guild. The guild is a group of quilters who gather to discuss quilting, gather new inspiring ideas, and to enjoy the friendship of other quilters.
Each year, at the Lum and Abner Festival, the Extension Homemaker Club hosts the Annual Ouachita Quilt Show in the Historic Armory. This year, without previous knowledge, Sharon was named as the ‘Feature Quilter of the Show,’ an honor that was given by the fellow members of her local guild. “I had no idea that they were doing this or that they would even select me. I was really honored,” says Sharon. This was the first year that the quilt show has honored a featured quilter, but many in the community that attended the show are they thankful they did. As a result of being named the featured quilter, Sharon had the opportunity to choose her favorite quilts to bring to the Armory to showcase. Choosing five or six quilts to showcase is not as easy as it may seem, “I probably have over 100 quilts in our home currently. Each year I give quilts away to family members and at a reunion recently, I gave away 15 more. So, it is safe to say that I have at least 100 quilts at the house,” says Sharon smiling.
Although many know Sharon for her quilting and her beautiful designs, she almost never picked up the hobby. “I had never quilted growing up, it wasn’t something that I had always done, but my husband told he thought I needed to start quilting. When he said that, I asked, ‘What is a quilt?’ So, ever since, I haven’t slowed down,” Sharon says laughing. Pete responded, “I thought, ‘She needs a hobby. How expensive could it be?’ Boy was I wrong,” says Pete chuckling. Not only has Sharon received local recognition, a couple of her quilts have received national recognition, earning national awards and being showcased in quilting books. Sharon has been invited to participate in some of the largest national quilt shows, earning ribbons at the International Quilt Show in Houston. “It is a huge show. We have around 100 quilts here today, but in Houston, there are most likely 500 or more quilts,” explains Sharon.
Despite being recognized locally and nationally for her quilting, Sharon loves the art form of quilting and building relationships. “There is a group of us that meet each Tuesday at Pine Ridge in the old Baptist Church to quilt. It is so much fun to sit around with others that love the same thing I do. We talk about the troubles we are having with a particular quilt, or we just talk about life. It’s a great time,” says Sharon smiling.
Quilting truly is an art form, like other forms of art, the quilter has an idea and design in mind and then through effort and creativity, a beautiful piece of art is made. “I would encourage anyone to talk up quilting. You may be like me and you have never quilted or don’t even know what quilting is, but anyone can do it. Just start somewhere,” says Sharon.