The Community Quilt Project
You are invited to click each square to read the personal story:
The Community Quilt Project, which began in May 2009, was inspired by the treasured Women’s Memorial Quilt. Residents, cultural groups, and community groups are invited to contribute a square for a community quilt or create a quilt with their group. The quilts are exhibited for the community to enjoy and then auctioned to raise money for the Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts and the community groups who contributed.
Community quilting excites personal expression, connects people, and creates community. The Community Quilt project gave people from different communities with different life experiences the opportunity to learn an ancient craft, to create together in an open and encouraging environment, and to connect and come to know one another better in the process. Quilters had the opportunity to tell their story and talk about their work.
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Van.
"We wanted to take part in an activity that would give back to the community and the clients we serve as well as allow us to come together as a team."
Under the Sea: Sandi Bajcar
Laurel Birch panel. Machine practice piece. 30,000 stitches, maybe more.
Women: Chocolate, Love, Life and Spi
Women: Chocolate, Love, Life and Spirit is one of the quilts made by Fabric Arts Program participants at the Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts.
Trunks: Jennifer Cooper
Made to use my hand dyed fabrics and experiment using window screen mesh. Trunks and twigs, a flash of greenery and light from behind.
Tough and Tender: Kristin Miller
I decided to send a quilt named Tough and Tender as it seemed symbolic of the women of the Downtown Eastside. The quilt may be off-balance, but it is strongly centered. The satin is both fragile and glamorous, the worn and faded denim protects and comforts, the plaids give structure and vibrancy, and the floral prints range from timid to bold. The hand-stitching wanders but encircles, holding the quilt together.
Spring: Paulette Clark
Titled “Spring” because that’s what the colours remind me of. When Dalannah asked me to donate something to support the Centre, how could I refuse?
The Spiders View: Lydia Shimek
A spiders view is the first example of my playing with other peoples ‘wee’ scraps.
Serendipity: DECA Quilt
Serendipity is one of the quilts made by Fabric Arts Program participants at the Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts.
Reaching Up and Reaching Out
This year at Vancouver Christian School, we are focusing on the theme Reaching Up and Reaching Out. The Olympics are coming this year and we are reaching up as we are celebrating the achievements of many athletes from across the world. We also realize though that there are many marginalized people who are affected negatively by this event. As a school, we are educating our students about Vancouver’s issues of homelessness and lack of affordable housing. Both the Grade Two and Six classes.
Pieces of Christmas: Wanda Mowry
A scrap quilt of Christmas fabrics. Warm and cozy with a flannel back.
Paper Prayer: Living Through Loss
This Paper Prayer quilt is inspired by the tradition of Tibetan prayer flags believed to send out blessings on the wind into all pervading space. These prayer flags include powerful ritual utterances intended to transform bad fortune into good fortune. It is hoped that the making and hanging of this quilt will bring good will and compassion to all. My wish and prayer is that all hearts in this world will heal: “May we all learn how to be kind to ourselves and others.
One Square at a Time
We received the information about the Community Quilt Project via email and thought this would be a great project and wanted to get on board. All the squares were made with lots of TLC. This was a very satisfying and rewarding project for the seniors group at Kitsilaino Neighborhood House.
Merry-Go-Round: Lions Gate Quilter’s
This pattern was evolved as I played around with using striped fabric. I love the way the mandala design created by the stripes is a bit different in each one, depending on where in the stripe the cuts were made.
Hope: Lindsay Undem
I made this quilt as a way of healing from the death of my son. I had discovered the Emily Dickenson poem years ago and then one day I used it in this quilt.
From the Heart: DECA
From the Heart is one of the quilts made by Fabric Arts Program participants at the Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts.
Fractured Flannels by Lydia Shimek
Most of the red, black and white flannel scraps are from my ‘stitch and bitch’ friend Rosemary Draper. The blocks were pieced during the uproar over the closure of Shaughnessy Hospital where I worked in 1993.
Free Our Sisters, Free Ourselves
This banner was made in 1979 for an International Woman’s Day parade by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin, Persimmon Blackbridge.
For the Love of Flowers
Vancouver Resource Society, The Quilting Program. "We made this quilt to preserve memories from our garden and neighbourhood this fall. "
Flower Bed: Nancy Bosomworth
and Sarah Turner. Each square was filled with the rich textures and colours of real flowers from her garden. She had pounded the flowers by hand with a hammer onto treated muslin.
Enlightenment - Karolina Barski
We all have a story to tell, one that will impact another, one that will make another reflect on his or her own life, one that will enlighten, one that will change. It was during the workshops at the Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts that I had the incredibly fortunate opportunity to listen to many life stories in the circle of community that we had created over only a few months.
Downtown Dreams: DEWC
A workshop lead by Gail, Danielle; many women from the Women’s Centre who attended the two sessions on fabric painting and dyeing, as well as women from the fabric arts workshop who continued to embellish the squares.
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House Knitters Group. Lisa came to the knitting group and asked if we would be interested in getting involved in the quilt project. So, the knitting group decided we would knit and crochet squares to put into a blanket.
The project began November 2nd 2008 at the exhibit The Living Blanket/La Couverture Vivante at CentreA. Maggie Winston and Lois Klassen invoked the energy and creativity of the Coyote and set out to transform an enormous stack of altered fabric coyote prints into functional blankets. This is the first quilt we made.
Breaking the Silence
Eliminating Violence through Filipino Women’s Empowerment. As the Philippine Women Centre of BC, our Violence Against Women Committee was proud to take part in this Community Quilt Project. We hope you enjoy the deeper meaning behind these images of struggle, activism, hope and personal and collective victories.
The Bella Italia quilt was contributed by the Club Femminile Italiano from the Italian Cultural Centre.
Canada Mourns: by Lydia Shimek
ight years ago, I walked into work at Brock Fahrni and noticed everyone was glued to the TV. It was September 11, 2001. I was stunned to watch the first tower in NYC collapse. For the next half hour I watched until the second tower was hit. At that point, I wanted to express my grief and horror in a quilt.
A Memorial to Breast Cancer Victims: Lydia Shimek
"I made these blocks during sessions at the Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts. The stratas of strip pieced fabrics had originally been sewn during a workshop with Marilyn Doheny about 15 years ago. The Dresden plate block was paper pieced by my daughter before that. By the time I put the blocks together and October being breast cancer month, the title was set."
Self-Blessing Mandala: Sarah Turner
On the first day of the workshop, Lisa brought in a small bowl of rocks and invited us all to contribute by writing on them. I wrote “self-acceptance” on one, and “community” on another. In Dalai Lama’s words, “When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.” Placing this bowl of rocks at the centre of our round worktable everyday signals our connection, if only for a few minutes or hours. We come together to listen, to be open. This too is the work of self-blessing, so we may learn to open our hearts as wide as the world. May we all move beyond our limits and heal through self-blessing.
People interested in creating fabric art workshops are invited to contribute their ideas email