PICKENS — Donna and Kerry Owen, owners and operators of the Bee Well Honey business in Pickens are now also the proud owners of an array of quilt blocks on their Natural Market & Gift Store.
The original quilts were fashioned by a variety of quilters and reproduced in graphic form to display on the exterior of the business that will be enjoyed by visitors to downtown Pickens, the Doodle Trail and Park.
These quilts were supported through the Pickens County ATAX Commission grant to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.
“Buzz In,” a quilt square created by Joy duBois and Sue Hackett, was made at the request of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail to honor the Owens’ honey business.
Joy found a pattern that everyone loved, pieced and quilted a lovely wall hanging that is now hanging inside the market. Sue Hackett, a quilter and member of the Oconee County Quilt Trail Production Team, did the embroidery on the quilted wall hanging. Joy loved the square so much that she has also produced the entire quilt for fun.
“Star Puzzle,” a vintage quilt from Donna’s side of the family, was discovered on a shelf at her mother, Pat Fisher’s, home in Rosman, N.C.
It was quilted by Donna’s grandmother, Alma Galloway Bruner, whom she called “Nanny.”
Alma was born in Transylvania County, N.C. on Dec. 24, 1912. She married Addison William Bruner and lived on Highway 64 in that same county. The Bruners had three children, Pat Fisher, who was Donna’s mother, Jimmy ,who died in a drowning accident in his early 20s, and Bill Bruner, who is a preacher at Rocky Bottom Baptist Church in Pickens County.
Star Puzzle was made during the 1940-50s, squares sewn by Alma and quilted with the help of Geniva Holcombe and Madari Powell.
Donna’s fondest memories of Alma’s quilts were their comfort and heaviness while sleeping at her Nanny’s home, where there was no central heating. “The weight of those quilts would make me feel toasty on the coldest of nights and made me feel safe during summer thunderstorms!”
“Ode to a Sunflower” was created by Vivian Perry, a member of the Upcountry Quilters’ Guild in Pickens County.
Vivian and her husband, Tommy, moved to the upstate 5 years ago and live in Easley. She bought a long-arm quilting machine in 2004 and began quilting for customers, which she continued for 12 years.
She now makes T-shirt quilts, has an Etsy shop called EggMoneyQuilts and an internet business.
Vivian’s inspiration for the Sunflower Quilt came from her love of the outdoors. She grew up in the country and she’d rather be outside than inside! She has always loved how sunflowers seem to stretch to soak in all the sunshine. There’s no pattern for this quilt; Vivian doesn’t use patterns. She prefers to make it up as she goes.
“Landscape” was created by the well-known art quilter Dottie Moore. Moore’s work can be found in fine galleries throughout the world, but Landscape was found at Boxwood Manor, the home of Annette Buchanan, during a UHQT Board meeting.
Kim Smagala, Director of the Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce, took one look at this tiny wonder, and said, “We have to paint this!”
Dottie has been creating what she calls visual conversations with fabric and thread since the 1980s. She is inspired by nature and every piece she fashions includes some part or all of a tree. Dottie lives in Rock Hill, S.C. where she teaches, lectures throughout the country and is the founder of Piecing a Quilt of Life, an international project dedicated to empowering senior women by recognizing their creative abilities.
Her web site is www.dottiemoore.com .
Bee Well Honey is known across the Southeast as a producer of delicious raw honey. They also offer a full line of beekeeping supplies.
Kerry Owen was introduced to honeybees as a child growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His father, grandfather and neighbors had beehives or “bee gums” as a source of honey for the family.
“You know sometimes, you just trip and stumble into the path you’re supposed to take,” Kerry explains, “but that is exactly what happened to me and my family. Bee Well Honey started in our kitchen, expanded into the garage, then into a rough sawn lumber barn and now we have buildings and honeybees scattered all across South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. We are still paying our dues and if it where not for my beekeeper friends there would be no Bee Well Honey and I will always remember that.”