Started 43 years ago as a fund-raiser to help residents in financial need at the Fairlawn Haven nursing home, the Fairlawn Auxiliary Auction has attracted thousands of people interested in quality handmade quilts and comforters.
Prospective buyers come from Archbold and throughout surrounding areas, plus many communities in Ohio, Michigan, and the Midwest.
Vivid reproductions of early American quilts, as well as new designs, filled Founder’s Hall at Sauder Village for the two-day spring event. To produce them, quilters set up quilt frames in area churches. They spent hundreds of hours quilting during the winter to produce masterpieces in cloth.
In recent years, auction organizers have seen a steady decline in the number of quilts and comforters donated by area individuals, churches, and family groups.
As older quilters have declined in numbers, younger women have become members of the workforce. Both significantly reduce the number of women who contribute the hours necessary to produce a single quilt. Some area men have even taken up needles to supplement the soft goods.
The handcrafted quilts and comforters are today’s treasures. Many are used daily just like the plain quilts of the early 1800s.
Helping to replace the reduced number of quilts and comforters at the 2008 Fairlawn Auction was a beautiful array of handcrafted wood items.
Made by area men and women, the modern woodworking showed the imagination and skill of 21st century woodworkers. Like the 1800s-period pieces of their ancestors, the creations sold at the Friday auction were functional and useful. Some were reproductions; others, modern adaptations of older styles.
Hopefully, the skills that go into quilting and making comforters will never disappear from our community. Hopefully, the older gentlemen who possess fine woodworking skills will continue to pass them on to younger men and women.
Making the quilts, comforters, and wood items are part of Archbold’s heritage. Hopefully, the skills get passed along.