Mother-daughter duo are transforming their St. Clairsville quilt shop as times change.
By Taylor Maple
From Past to Present, a quilt shop run by Jeana Paglialunga and her mother, Joyce, provides quilting and fabric enthusiasts a place to practice their art in the heart of St. Clairsville.
Jeana opened the shop after graduating from Ohio University with a degree in fine art photography. She and Joyce have helped the shop’s purpose evolve and grow ever since. As the name suggests, customers were initially able to bring old photographs, VHS tapes and eight millimeter films to Jeana, who would then digitally restore them and transfer the video to DVDs.
“When I was doing my senior thesis, I felt that photographs should be more than just something hanging on a wall,” she says. “So I did photo quilts.”
Jeana would scan photos from friends, family and customers, and print them directly onto the fabric to create the quilts. She then decided on a way to monetize it. Jeana had come home from college and paid a few visits to the local quilt guild in Wheeling, West Virginia, doing talks about photo quilts. After that, she pursued job prospects in related fields, but nothing was willing to pay what she needed — especially now that she was pursuing her master’s degree in art history.
With these photo quilts as its first selling point, From Past to Present was born. Now, Jeana has partially transformed the purpose of the shop, in part due to customers finding the means to create photo quilts themselves.
“You can buy the printer fabric anywhere,” Jeana says.
Photos and DVD conversions were a similar story.
“Places like Wal–Mart started offering it for a lot cheaper than I could do,” she says. “I spent four of five hours on it, and they did it in 20 minutes.”
The shop has changed, but it certainly hasn’t slowed down. Jeana refocused primarily on quilting after customers begged her to start selling fabric. Since making this transition, Jeana and Joyce have expanded the shop from one room above a neighboring diner to three full rooms of fabric and a welcoming display of crafts by a front door right on the street.
They’re constantly stocking up on new fabrics and keeping up on trends. A stroll through the fabric rooms gives one a glimpse of endless opportunity — seasonal fabrics, every color imaginable, even some fabrics themed after characters of the hit PBS series Downton Abbey.
The shop hasn’t only allowed Jeana and Joyce to express themselves artistically —it’s also helped Joyce heal. In 2012, she was involved in an automobile accident, sustaining a head injury that shook her mentally. When recovery wasn’t going as quickly as expected, doctors suggested she work in the quilt shop to exercise her brain.
“I used to be really good at math,” Joyce says. “(Jeana) asked me a question one day and I couldn’t answer it. So they suggested if I could work more in her shop, then it might bring some of my brain back.”
Today, Joyce assists in the shop on a regular basis. She says working with the patterns and measurements has helped stimulate her brain.
“I’m still not at 100 percent, but it’s helped,” she says.
The family connection at this shop goes beyond this mother and daughter duo, as Jeana’s grandfather owned a shoe store in the very same spot during the 1980s. Jeana has even pulled off old wall coverings in the bathroom to reveal a quirky wallpaper she remembered from her childhood.
“She wanted to bring a piece of him back,” Joyce says.
Whatever is next for this shop, Jeana and Joyce have shown they can roll with the punches. Fornow, quilting and fabric are their focus.
“She’s very creative and she can pick out patterns better than anyone,” Joyce says of her daughter. “I’ve learned a lot.”
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