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Lately, blankets have gotten a bad rap (hee, hee).

With the invention (I use that word lightly) and subsequent proliferation of the Snuggie, thinking about wrapping up in a warm quilt brings with it images of idiots who don't know how to work one. Don't. Know. How. To. Work. A. Blanket. They can't read, operate a remote, drink a cup of hot cocoa or talk on the phone without fear of getting their afghans tangled up around their throats and strangling themselves to death. Instead, they need a bathrobe worn backward.

But it wasn't always like this. Quilts have long been used as a way of sharing family histories and patterns are passed down from generation to generation as a way to mark important times in a family's life: weddings, births, deaths. While usually considered a craft, quilt making is also often an art form—Amish-made quilts and the famous Gee's Bend quilts have been exhibited in museums across the world.

Boise-based artist Eliza Fernand is also doing her part to elevate the textile art. She uses brightly colored fabrics and her sewing skills to make traditional four-sided quilts, but she also creates three-dimensional pieces, installations and incredible costumes. An exhibit of her work, "Patchwork: The Art of Eliza Fernand" opens tonight at Visual Arts Collective and runs through Saturday, March 26. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. and admission is FREE.