Cedotal preserves memories with intricate art pieces

ELLIE HEBERT Contributing writer

PLAQUEMINE - For hundreds of years, people have created quilts for many different reasons - utilitarian, social and even monetary. Gloria Cedotal of Plaquemine picked up the hobby about a decade ago, partly out of curiosity, but mostly for pleasure. It has evolved into one of the joys of her life.

"I fell in love with it and never stopped," Cedotal says.

She will be sharing her passion for the craft at the Fourth Annual Fiber Arts Festival, sponsored by the City of Plaquemine Main Street Program's Art in the City Program.

The event, which features several distinguished fiber artists, is Nov. 8-9. Arts on display and for sale will include cross-stitch, quilting, embroidery, rug hooking, spinning, weaving, knitting, tadding, Tamari ball making, Oxford needle punch, crochet, basket-making, jewelry and more.

Artists will offer a variety of classes and demonstrations from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 23645 Church Street on Nov. 8.

The Fiber Festival moves to the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park Main Pavilion on Nov. 9 for fiber arts demonstrations and classes with 50 booths of arts on sale, along with music provided by the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Orchestra, an art supply swap and food booths, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The event is free, but a small fee is charged for the classes. There is no vendor booth fee for artists.

Among the classes to be offered are tadding, Tamari ball making, rug hooking and Oxford needle punch, T-shirt scarf making and weaving. Pre-registration is required for the classes.

Call Charlene Bishop at 225-776-4119 or Kristine Hebert with the Plaquemine Main Street Program at 225-687-3116 for more information and to pre-register.

This event is part of the Louisiana Main Street Program: Main to Main - A Cultural Road Show. It is sponsored by the City of Plaquemine Main Street Program and the Office of the Lt. Governor, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

Cedotal will be displaying an array of colorful quilts at the show. But, she warns that she has so much time and money invested in her work that some believe them costly.

Fabric alone for a double-size bed quilt can cost anywhere from $300 - $500. She uses only quality fabric and is precise with her work, often taking three-four weeks to complete a piece, depending on its size.

"It's not a cheap hobby," she shares. "But there is a lot of self-satisfaction in seeing the results. I never quit. I just don't stop until I finish."

Since she completed her first project, a little square that she crafted into a bag, Cedotal says she's made too many quilts to count. She stores them on four beds in her home, each stacked with about 20 quilts. Over the years, she has given dozens away.

Cedotal's husband supports her hobby, and helped convert an outdoor kitchen into a quilting workshop where she stores yards of diverse and sundry fabric, an extensive library of quilting books, dozens of tools like rulers, a gamut of patterns and her "works in progress."

Her quilting projects are an assortment of versatile and beautiful items, including bedding, table runners, baskets, notebook covers, bags, purses and even tissue covers. She recently finished a comforter made entirely of her granddaughter's old t-shirts, which is becoming a popular trend for young people who want to capture memories.

She is currently wrapping up a vividly colored patchwork bed cover and will soon undertake a project for her son. It will be a quilt made of 32 Crown Royal Whisky blue felt bags, which she's quick to point out all "were all donated by a friend."

Although she used to make all her projects by hand, about four years ago she invested in a modern $10,000 quilting machine that allows her to work more efficiently.

One of the benefits of quilting is the social aspect. Cedotal belongs to the Krotz Springs Quilters Guild, Magic Fingers Guild in Krotz Springs and The Community Quilters in Plaquemine.

"We sit, sew and talk, mostly talk," Cedotal explains with a laugh. "We help each other along and share ideas. I encourage anyone who is interested to try it."