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How the Sundial Project began

I couldn’t help but notice the fantastically colorful quilt squares that were appearing on buildings all over Yancey County (North Carolina). My first thought about them was the realization of how much they enhanced the scenic beauty of this area. But I soon noticed that some of them had radial patterns on them that almost looked like sundials! At that moment I realized that a quilt square could be made that was also a functioning sundial! Most sundials are a combination of art and science, and it seemed to me that the art of those quilt squares could be a perfect match for the science of the vertical sundial.

So I called Barbara Webster, director of the Quilt Square Project, and told her of my idea. She was very interested, and I soon had a meeting with Barbara and her husband Martin to discuss the possibilities. That first meeting was many months ago, but since then our quilt square sundial project has grown and evolved far beyond anything we imagined at that first meeting. From then until now has been a long, interesting, and sometimes difficult adventure, involving lots of fantastic ideas and lots of wonderful people.

As a sundial maker and sundial enthusiast I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to help create a large public sundial such as this. It is my most sincere hope that this great timepiece will be enjoyed by all, and that it will serve as a landmark and point of pride for Burnsville, Yancey County, and western North Carolina for many years to come.

For those interested in learning more about sundials, the website of the North American Sundial Society ( is a great place to start.

Bob Hampton
March, 2010