Bobby Egeland, 43, who works as a garbage man for Jefferson, doesn’t seem like a likely quilter — and he’s not, exactly. But quilting is the inspiration for the metal and paint creations he makes in his garage.
He calls his metal art “shed quilts” because they often go on outbuildings or garages, and the colors and patterns come straight out of the quilt book by Maggie Malone.
“I like to draw things, and my mom quilts. I was watching her quilt one day and started looking through some of her books. I had thought about making the shed quilts, and she wanted one,” Egeland explains with a grin and a shrug.
He and his mother, Jeannie Egeland, picked out a pattern, and he made her an 18-inch by 18-inch square sign. Word got around.
“I started getting phone calls from random people,” he says. “They were calling up and asking if they could get one made, and I was happy to do it.”
He began making a smaller-sized sign, which was his wife’s idea. She wanted one she could hang in her garden. Egeland figures he’s made around 50 shed quilts, including the smaller signs he now makes.
The process of making the signs begins with a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of aluminum from which he cuts a piece to size. He draws the geometric quilt design on paint masking and then puts the paint masking on top of the aluminum. Egeland uses an air brush to apply the automotive paint to the aluminum. He has to peel back the paint masking to apply each color, let it dry and then put the masking back over that color before he goes to the next. The painting process takes about an hour-and-a-half for a larger sign.
Once the color pattern is painted, the last step is to apply clear coat to protect the paint. While the automotive paint he applies for the quilt pattern dries quickly, the clear coat has to sit overnight.
Making the signs is an expensive endeavor, with the aluminum sheets costing $110 each, the clear coat $100 per gallon and the automotive paint as much as $85 for a small can, and that doesn’t include his time.
A visitor to Jefferson will find Egeland’s creations dotted around town, and each one looks a little different. Egeland also made some of the shed quilts for a fundraiser in Estherville where he grew up.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 30 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”