Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quilt of Belonging

I had the good fortune to see the Quilt of Belonging when it was in Kingston recently.  I had seen it several years ago when it came to the Museum of Civilization (now Museum of History). The venue at the Curling Club in Kingston was perfect for seeing a panoramic view of the whole quilt.
Here are a few different views - think of it - 130 feet long!   Each square represents one country of the world who have people living in Canada.  From what I understood, that is all the countries of the world.    As well, all along the sides and bottom are representatives of tribes of First Nations, as well as Inuit and Metis.   What an education and what an emotional experience aside from the beauty and expertise of the quilt itself!   My friend and I stayed the whole afternoon.

It was so well set out with benches along the way to rest and observe.  They were covered in quilts.  As well, there were groupings of comfy chairs and tables holding several copies of the accompanying book which tells the story of each square.   Add to that, we were able to take a lunch break in the adjoining eating area overlooking the quilt.

Gathering to read and chat about the Quilt

 There were pages spread out over a table and we were encouraged to sign along the curved lines drawn there.   These pages will accompany the Quilt in its travels.

By chance, we were there for the opening ceremonies complete with town crier, First Nations drummers and singers, local politicians and the woman who started it all - Esther Bryan.     The town crier made the announcement, Esther spoke about the idea and the process, the politicians cut the ribbon and the drummers chanted "We are all One People".    Such a moving experience!

Esther is on the Right

And then we had cake!

Amazing embroidery

The Metis square - one of my favourites!!

The top strips were hand dyed

Oh, the stitching!

This amazing beadwork

From the individual squares with some of the most wonderful embroidery and beadwork to the hand dyed top strips and cord to the colour coordinated backgrounds and the tassels on the bottom, this quilt was a work of art. The quilt took 8 years to complete and all was done with many volunteers.

The website has photos of each square with the story behind it and the beautiful book can be ordered for $30.   There are also tour dates on the site.   Check it out here

If you haven't already seen this Quilt, watch for it to come to a venue close to you.  Not only a beautiful work of art but a way to celebrate our diversity and connect us all.

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