Helping communities across the state connect their heritage arts and traditions to local development, education, and active citizenship
Henderson, Vance County, NC
Wallace Evans grew up on a farm in Granville County where he learned to tack quilts with his mother and siblings. Tacking, which is less labor intensive than quilting and has its own unique aesthetics, involves tying layers of fabric together with individual stitches of thick thread rather than sewing them with continuous stitching. Growing up, Evans remembers tacking quilts as a family activity.
“My mother had a bench that they stretched the quilt out on, and we would sit around the bench, and do the tacking—in the living room, by the potbelly stove, in the wintertime.”
Today, Evans lives in Henderson, where he teaches cosmetology at Vance-Granville Community College, and owns Renaissance Style by Wallace, a Henderson salon. He began quilting when he attended a class taught by Vance County quilter Peggy Stocks. Already skilled in sewing, Evans caught on quickly to the craft.
“Today there is a lot of time taken with patterns and that kind of thing,” he says, reflecting on how quilt-making has changed since his mother’s generation. “Years ago, they made them warm, and they used whatever they had . . . people spent time together when they were doing the quilts then, and it was bonding time. Now it’s a little bit more on a personal level…”
His quilts have appeared in exhibitions, both solo and with the Heritage Quilters guild. Though he still tacks, he quilts more often these days; he particularly enjoys making baby quilts. A favorite technique, learned from Peggy Stocks, is to quilt along the patterns printed in the fabric. Doing so guides the quilter’s needle and creates a three-dimensional effect that heightens different elements in the overall visual effect of the piece.
“It’s all handwork,” he says, explaining the connection between his professional and personal crafts. “Cosmetology is handwork…I’m able to do what I love, and very few people have the opportunity to do that, professionally or personally. But I’ve been blessed in that sense. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.”