Originally published Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 05:56a.m.

Many women all over the world enjoy the art of quilting.

For most, the hobby offers a time of socializing with other quilters and the enjoyment of creating useful and functional art pieces.

But the quilt in America was originally an article born of necessity to provide warm covers. The quilts of by-gone days were used not only as bed covers, but also to hang over doors and windows to keep out the cold.

It is believed that there are approximately 21.3 million active quilters in America today, and RuthAnn Clark, of Paulden, is one of them.

“My mother taught me to sew as a child, and I have been sewing since I was 11 years old,” Clark said. “I had always wanted to quilt, but it wasn’t until about 20 years ago that I learned how to quilt by hand at a Hancock store in Phoenix. Today a lot of quilts are made by machine, but I still enjoy doing a lot of my quilting by hand.

“I prefer traditional looking quilts,” she said, “the kind your grandmother would make.”

Her opening to quilting was because “my husband David and I do Civil War Reenactment,” she said. “When I first started there was no civil war reproduction fabric, so I had to do a lot of research and improvise to make it look authentic. We go to the folk arts fair at Sharlot Hall (Museum) each year, and I will be there on June 2-3 with all my hand-pieced quilts.”

Clark said that because she works full time, it usually takes her about a year to finish a quilt.

“Sewing is my passion!” she said. “I even sew all my own Civil War clothes. To me, this is my creative outlet; I believe it is a gift from God.

“I always thought I didn’t have anything special until I started teaching quilting. Everybody has a gift, and this is mine,” she said.

One of her quilts, of pastel florals, will be in the upcoming High Desert Quilt Show on June 1 and 2 at the Prescott Valley Event Center.