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Pearl District inspires quilt show

More than 30 quilts will be displayed in magazine format

SUBMITTED PHOTO - A member of Westside Modern Quilt Club holds up her quilt inspired by The Pearl District. The quilt exhibit will hang in the Lake Oswego Library through the month of October.

Westside Modern Quilt Club will present quilts inspired by Portland’s Pearl District in a show that opens at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth St. in Lake Oswego. The club, which meets at The Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Lake Oswego, has a membership of about 75 people from as far away as Salem and throughout the greater Portland metropolitan area. They were inspired to create their quilts based on how the Pearl District was named.

The Pearl District was originally referred to as the Northwest Industrial Triangle, according to an article written by Margie Boulé for The Oregonian in 2002. Thomas Augustine, an owner and director of art galleries in the area for many years, named the area for his friend, Pearl Marie Amhara, a social worker and religious woman he met in New Orleans in 1965. Amhara had connections with the Sisters of the Holy Names at Marylhurst and fell in love with Oregon.

Augustine moved to Portland in 1983 and Amhara would come for long visits. She was a lifelong advocate for women’s rights as well as a supporter of the arts. In an effort to raise morale of women, she would hold dance sessions and workshops in the old warehouses of Northwest Portland, north of Burnside.

The Northwest Industrial Triangle isn’t a very romantic name, and to Augustine it was more natural to call the area “Pearl’s place” or the Pearl District.

“Think about it. These old, crusty exteriors on the buildings are like the exterior of the oyster shell,” he is quoted in the 2002 article. “But inside it’s amazing: There are literally thousands of people inhabiting them, some illegally ... not only painters and sculptors, but software makers, wine distributors, poets and musicians. That’s a wonderful metaphor.”

Inspired by the story, the quilters set about representing the Pearl District through their art medium, quilting. The exhibit made its debut at the Northwest Quilting Expo in Portland in September, and now, more than 30 quilts will be hung at the Lake Oswego Public Library.

The quilts will be hung in a creative manner. It will follow a magazine format, complete with cover page and a table of contents, which is the map of the district. It will incorporate history, art, food and the landmarks of the area, all in fabric.

The Westside Modern Quilt Club meets the last Wednesday of each month at The Pine Needle, 429 First St. in Lake Oswego. Learn more on its Facebook page or by calling The Pine Needle at 503-635-1353.


Local Weather



Lake Oswego


Humidity: 80%

Wind: 5 mph

  • 3 Oct 2015

    Clear 69°F 49°F

  • 4 Oct 2015

    Sunny 81°F 52°F