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Special Exhibits

Special collections of quilts.

Special Exhibits are collections of innovative and original work done by an individual or group of artists that represent contemporary or historic themes, concepts, ideas, techniques, educational and regional projects. 

Living Outside the Lines – The Works of Ann Stamm Merrell (1951-1999)

curated by Greg Merrell, Tracie Evans and Deb Ridgway

Crooked Rail Fence, 1993 Ann Stamm MerrellAnn grew up in northwest Ohio in an area known as German Township in Fulton County. While raised immersed in quilt making, she didn’t start quilting until after moving to California in 1983.

This exhibit pays tribute to her quilting legacy influenced by her heritage and artistic interpretations that pushed traditional quilting boundaries for the time period. A mathematician, statistician, musician, and composer, Ann came to quilting in her 40s.

Ann’s quilt designs reflect three distinct periods: traditional, contemporary and Celtic Crosses. Her style often dramatically changing from one quilt to the next. A cancer diagnosis in 1993 “affected content, technique and my perspective in quilt making,” according to Ann.

Bilious Spots in Space, 1992 Ann Stamm MerrellHer post cancer diagnosis addressed her faith. “Design elements like raw edges, quilting ‘outside the lines’, slicing through already finished sections – speak metaphorically of my life post cancer”. Driven to keep creativity ever present and as far into the process as possible, she eliminated what she saw as busywork. Because it was physically difficult to handle large quilt tops, she began working with smaller finished units (batted, backed & quilted), to assemble them into one large piece. This gave her more freedom from her perceived “rules of quilting” allowing each quilt to speak to her as she created.

Ann passed away in 1999. This exhibit, a tribute to her legacy, is from the personal collection of Greg Merrell (Ann’s husband), the Sauder Village collection, and a few loaned pieces from private collectors.

Quilts-of-Valor-example3Quilts of Valor

curated by Deb Ridgway 

A Quilt of Valor is an award to service members and veterans who have been touched by war. It says, “thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation.” Quilts of Valor reflect the best possible workmanship and use of quality materials, consistent with the Quilts of Valor Foundation’s core value of promoting excellence.

Sauder Village has teamed with the Quilts of Valor Foundation and Freedom Bound Quilts for a unique Special Exhibit and Quilt Awarding Ceremony for the annual Quilt Show. You are invited to donate a finished patriotic themed quilt to be presented to service members or veterans who have been touched by war.

Quilts-of-Valor-example2All entries are considered a donation and will be awarded to a local service member or veteran by the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Your donated quilt will be on full-length display during the annual quilt show and awarded in a special ceremony held in advance of the show for recipients, their families, the quilt makers and dignitaries.

Want to make and donate a quilt for this exhibit? Click here for quilt requirements

Sauder Village Quilt Exhibit Registration Information

For more information about the Quilts of Valor Foundation go to:



Sauder Village Quilt Challenge: Not Quite Black & White

curated by Anita Roth

2023-Challenge-fabrics-logoBlack and white. Black is defined as the complete absence of color and white as the presence of all colors simultaneously. Black and white have their places on the opposite ends of the color spectrum. Take a moment to consider what images come to mind when you think about black and white. Maybe you think about dark and light, or day and night, or positive and negative. This opposition of black and white has us asking one important question. How can you as a quilt artist envision bringing these opposites together? This question is the inspiration for the 2023 Sauder Village Quilt Challenge.

Follow this link for the 2023 Quilt Show challenge flyer