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BRIGHAM CITY - The Bible is often cryptic when it comes to women. A passing reference to one woman's wisdom in this book of the Old Testament, a suggestion of debauchery about another in the New.

It is from the often-mysterious and short references to women that 47 artists from throughout the United States have pieced and painted, beaded and stitched 22-inch-square art quilts for a national exhibit.

The show, "Women of Biblical Proportion," will be up through Wednesday at the Brigham City Museum-Gallery.

These quilts are not your grandmother's bed covering - they are way too small. In bold rusts and purples and reds, they belong on the wall.

While some of the quilts are abstract, others tell stories - often imagined - of such women as Eve and Jezebel, the Queen of Sheba and Ruth.

The artists use everything from textile paint to beads, appliqué to charms.

Janet Ghio, of Kerrville, Texas, chose Delilah, who cut Samson's curly hair, which held the secret to his strength. She made Delilah a seductress, with grapes and wine and Samson's curly locks at her feet.

"I don't think that Delilah was all bad; if you look at her closely, you will see a tear in her eye," wrote Ghio in the text accompanying her quilt.

In "Rescuer Rahab," artist Lee Porter, of Washington, D.C., shows Rahab, a prostitute who welcomed Israelites into her home inside the walls of Jericho, helping them to escape over the city walls by rope.

"Rahab represents to me so many biblical women, who worked outside the established power structure, taking great risks in supporting God's work in the world," wrote Porter.

Though her work is not part of the national exhibit, Jodi Warner, of South Jordan, is showing her large story quilt, "Angel's Portion: Seeking Virtue." Her quilt is on loan from the LDS Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City.

Many of the women who made the quilts are artists, but others have backgrounds as engineers, social workers, teachers, therapists, journalists and in public administration.

The exhibit was put together nearly two years ago by Ruth Harris, of Hinton, Okla., and her daughter, Chantelle Cory, of Broken Arrow, Okla. - after Cory was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The two decided they needed a long-term project to work on together and began soliciting art pieces from around the country.

They have another show, "Men of Biblical Proportion," traveling the nation.

Larry Douglass, director of the Brigham City Museum, said the show has been popular since it debuted in late January. Some days, 100 people have seen the exhibit.

"This week alone, 300 people have seen it," he said recently. "It's been a really good show."

Show ends soon* "Women of Biblical Proportion," a national art quilt show, is on display at The Brigham City Museum-Gallery, 24 N. 300 West, in Brigham City, through Wednesday.

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The exhibit is free. More information is available at 435-723-6769.