For quilter Donna Rice, board member for Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS), volunteering each year at SOQS is a labor of love — a commitment that’s lasted 20 years.

“Through the years I have taken part in a number of tasks and have been hanging quilts every year since the beginning,” Rice said. “I’m a team leader with other volunteers, and we hang quilts in a section of town, including take-down at the end of the day.”

Over the years, she has worked in the volunteer/information booth and as a hostess at a section of town (watching the quilts, answering questions, handing out the event guide). She folds quilts in the event office as they come in and is on the team that selects the quilts to be hung and where they will be hung around town. Rice also designed the Quilt for Two Rivers that hangs in Sisters City Hall.

This year Rice took on the challenge of reviewing and revising “The Book” for SOQS.

Board Chair Jeff Omodt noted, “Many people don’t understand how many details need to be kept track of to have a place for each quilt. SOQS keeps a huge notebook describing every possible quilt hanging location and what size quilt could fit there. It’s a photo inventory of every flat surface in our entire town. The book is used to decide where every quilt will go before

quilt day.”

Rice added, “The book is the actual guide as to where each quilt will hang. I (with help) walked the town and checked the wires to see if they are broken, need to be replaced or just added to newly painted buildings. Then I checked with the merchants so I could be sure that all was OK — OK to hang where we did last year.”

Rice began quilting around 1992 and has sewn clothes and home décor most of her life.

“Once I started quilting I was hooked,” she told The Nugget. “A friend and I purchased a quilting machine in 1995 and we worked with a number of quilters in the area.”

Since there were only a handful of long-arm quilters in the area at that time and three active guilds in Central Oregon, their quilting business thrived.

She added, “We quilted tops for the local quilters who were not interested in quilting their own. I ‘retired’ in 2000 from the long-arm quilting business and now I primarily create art quilts of my own.”

Rice describes her quilting style as “exploration.”

“I am drawn to color — lots of color and small pieces of fabric. I find it a challenge and the work quite interesting.”