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Creativity flourishes in quilting project now exhibited in the Parish of Huntley

Lise Friesen, Lois Thompson , Gillian Mattock, Eleanor Johnson, and Madonna Oliver celebrate the completion of their project in Huntley Parish Hall.
Lise Friesen, Lois Thompson , Gillian Mattock, Eleanor Johnson, and Madonna Oliver celebrate the completion of their project in Huntley Parish Hall.
By on January 1, 2021

Quilt panels

At the start of Advent in November 2019, a small group of ladies started meeting for a couple of hours one afternoon per week. One of these ladies was Gillian Mattock, who is the project coordinator of Sharing Wisdom, Lives, and Hearts Across the Ages in Rural West Carleton.

Gillian set aside part of a grant from Service Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors programme, to pay for many of the materials that would be needed for a community project designed to bring people together in our area.  Madonna Oliver of The Paisley Quilt Shop, at 112 John Cavanaugh Drive, Carp, provided the workspace and expertise to teach the ladies new techniques. The other local ladies are Lois Thompson, Eleanor Johnson, Lise Friesen, and Robin Morash.

Working from a sketch Gillian had made, the ladies put their heads together to design and create—all by hand, five stunningly beautiful quilted panels. Each panel is about 27 x 78 inches, so quite large indeed.

The four symbolic words of Advent inspired the panels together with the four seasons in the Ottawa valley, and with Faith at the centre. The forested Carp Ridge can be seen in the background of each panel, and the Carp River runs in the foreground across the whole design. Each panel bears a beautifully embroidered meaningful name-plate at its base – Joy, Love, Peace, Hope, and Faith.

When Ottawa was locked down in the middle of March 2020, each of the ladies took their work home, and sent many messages and e-mails to each other, only meeting, one at a time with Madonna Oliver, distantly outside The Quilt Shop to discuss the next steps needed to continue work on the panels. Then on July 9, we were able to resume meeting inside, suitably masked, sanitized & disinfected, but still maintaining a reasonable distance from each other. Each of the ladies said how it was so good to get together again, to see smiling eyes, if not whole faces. It was also good to see each of the panels progress from the original sketches and evolve into these beautiful creations which are designed to inspire anyone who looks at them. And they do.

Originally the quilted panels were going to travel around the area to be displayed in different church halls & community centres, however, with the current COVID restrictions, they will be displayed in the Parish of Huntley Hall, at St. James Anglican Church, 3774 Carp Road, in the village.

There was such a sense of celebration when the panels were first hung by Roger Richardson on Nov. 28, before the first Sunday of Advent. The Rev. Baxter Park and his wife his wife Nancy, and all the ladies were there, and everyone was moved by the beautiful images now hanging on the previously bare, austere walls of the parish hall. The beauty and meaning of each panel is breathtaking, and Rev. Baxter said, “The photographs do not do them justice. They have to be seen to appreciate them fully.”

Gillian Mattock, the project coordinator of Sharing Wisdom, Lives & Hearts Across the Ages, said this was one of the last of six activities in the programme. Because she knew nothing about quilt-making or sewing beforehand, she didn’t know how it would evolve. “Actually, this whole activity has been such a success, and it’s fulfilled all of the criteria specified by the terms of the grant. In fact, it has gone beyond all expectations.”

The ladies have become good friends over this past year. Although the Sharing Wisdom project is over, they intend to continue to inspire each other & work together to design and create more beautiful creations. — Gillian Mattock

You can reach Gillian at [email protected] to find out more.

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