Plessis – The first year of Barn Quilts for Books will culminate this weekend with a book giveaway to inculcate a lifelong love of reading in children and create a lasting legacy in honor of the avid reader.
To create this legacy for her late mother, artist Kimberly A. decided to spend hours producing four hand-painted barn quilts to pull on the purchase of children’s books for those attending story hours at Macsherry Library, 112 Walton Street in Alexandria Bay.
Ms. Kernhan painted a large 4 by 4 foot piece of sailor’s compass, and three 2 by 2 foot barn quilts in a variety of designs: a terrifying golden puppy, a double kayak design and a more traditional bear claw style.
From cutting and sanding the pieces down, to applying three coats of exterior primer and letting it dry in between each coat before starting to lay out the design and getting to the paint, it took several hours to work on each piece.
Her efforts have been named “Barn Quilts for Books” in hopes of creating a legacy of reading in memory of her mother, Caroline V. Kernahan, who died in March last year at the age of 88.
Mrs. Kernahan, when she was not working, spent countless hours at various locations in the area selling lottery tickets for the lots she made. The raffle ended on July 17th.
“It far exceeded my expectations; being this new, I was thinking if I raised a few hundred dollars, I would be in really good shape,” said Ms. Kernehan. “I ended up making $1,000, and of course I took some expenses out of that, making posters, tickets and things like that, but I was pretty surprised.”
Ms Kernehan said she has had a lot of community support for the endeavor, including her friend who goes door-to-door for business in Alexandria Bay and sells nearly $350 in raffle tickets.
“I was certainly really surprised, in terms of the amount of support and what I ended up raising,” Ms Kernehan said. “I set my expectations low because I didn’t want to be disappointed, and it exceeded my expectations. I definitely want this to be something I can carry for my mom every year for as long as I can make plates or maybe even make a piece of art to do the lottery next to the barn quilt.”
She noted that since doing so, she ended up commissioning six more boards.
Kathy Colin Briscoe, who now lives around New York City, won a 4×4 Sailor Compass, graduating with Mrs. Kernhan.
Sue Wienke, North Tonawanda, won the Retriever quilt. The double kayak quilt was won by Mike Vince, Hammond, and the bear claw quilt was won by Elaine Kleil, Theresa.
Ms. Kernehan said she is already considering what barn quilt designs to do next year and hopes Barn Quilts for Books will continue as an annual tradition.
Ms. Kernhan will read to children the books she has chosen this Saturday starting at 10 a.m., and the money raised through raffles will be allocated to purchase copies for each child to take home. Macsherry Library and Hearts for Youth Inc. , a local youth organisation, along with Barn Quilts for Books to organize and advertise the event.
Ms Kernehan is not yet sure how many books she will be translating into as each book costs a different amount and the total number of children who will attend has yet to be determined. The two books on display are “The Color Monster” by Anna Llenas, for younger children up to 3 years old, and “In My Heart: A Book of Feelings” by Joe Wittek and illustrations by Christine Rossi for the 4-6 year age group. .
“I thought it was a great way to start with feelings and emotions,” Ms Kernehan said. “And then as we continue with this, we hope it progresses to other things.”
Starting at 10 a.m. with the young children on Saturday, Mrs. Kernehan will spend time with them on the story, then the library staff will take this collection and make a craft related to the book. While this is happening, Mrs. Cranhan will sit with the older children and read and hand out their book. Once this is done, these kids will also be able to do a craft project related to their book.
Each book will have a book board on the inside cover emblazoned with “Barn Quilts for Books: A Legacy of Reading in Memory of Carolyn Kernehan,” so kids can create their own libraries and also know these books are special.
“My mother is there smiling,” said Mrs. Kernhan. “Everyone used to say of my mother any time Caroline saw you, she greeted you with a big smile. Well, I hope you are there smiling about the legacy of reading we leave her.”