Don Lusk was unnerved by the prospect of facing a roomful of women quilters. Lusk, along with friend Adrian Thompson, were on the forefront of a growing trend in quilting — male quilters. Both Lusk and Thompson are included in a showcase of the national presence of men in quilting called “Men of Biblical Proportion.”

“It was a little intimidating,” Lusk said, when he first joined the Edmond Quilting Guild. “Being around all those women quilters can be frightening, but they have been very open and welcoming.”

The two men were accepted into the group and the quilting community in the metro area. The “Men of Biblical Proportion” has helped introduce them to other male quilters. The exhibit will be coming to the Cox Center on Jan. 12-14. The exhibit is also raising the awareness of other quilters that men are becoming more interested in quilting as an art form.

“I’ve heard stories that men will have problems when they go into fabric stores because they don’t think he’s serious,” Lusk said. “When they realize he isn’t just on an errand from his wife, he’s there to spend money like anyone else, they’ll usually welcome them.”

The exhibit features only male quilters who choose one male character from the Bible. They will produce a small, 22-inch quilt that portrays a scene from the Bible featuring their character. The exhibit is a play off a similar exhibit that had featured female characters and female quilters.

“It’s a traveling exhibit that was organized by Ruth Harris, she was the one that had put together the original ‘Women of Biblical Proportions,’” Lusk said.

Harris collected names of male quilters for two years and then sent out invitations to around 100 quilters. She settled on 51 artists. Thompson’s scene focuses on Pontius Pilate.

“I took the scene where he washed his hands of the situation and let the people condemn Jesus,” Thompson said. “I put in a verse in English, Latin and Hebrew.”

Thompson has been sewing for 22 years and started quilting eight years ago. He started with traditional quilts, but moved into art quilting.

“Quilting’s been resurging because the public view art quilts with a higher respect now, it’s not just a blanket now,” Thompson said. “There are a lot of us creating art pieces that are going for hundreds to thousands of dollars.”

Lusk’s work is titled “Pharaoh” and features a hieroglyphic-inspired style. The project, like others that he’s quilted, takes more time to prepare for than to actually quilt.

“I spent four months just thinking about it. When I started, it took me about a month to finish,” Lusk said.

Lusk got into sewing originally because of his love for the theater.

“I was working on costumes for Carpenter Square Theater,” Lusk said. “My friend I was helping showed me how to sew, and eventually a group of us started getting together.”

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