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a quilt for all seasons...

foreword...
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From an early childhood I have always been grateful for the little magical highlights in our otherwise drab sensible world. A stained glass window, a panel of decorative tiles, well coloured paintings and most of all those embellished textiles, knitted, embroidered or patchwork. These little islands of delights lovingly made to lift up the soul are what get most of us through life’s many trials. There is a mystic that making of these life enhancing objects is beyond the wit of most of us. What a day of celebration and revelation, when we discover how easy and deeply satisfying these crafts are. Through my knitting my good friend Liza Lucy pulled me into the patchwork world. She took patterns I’d done in knitting and translated them to patchwork proving to me I was good at designing for that craft. Her offer to sew, if I laid out the colours, was an offer I could not refuse, resulting in many books, lectures, workshops and museum exhibitions, but mostly hours of satisfaction. I went from doing the quilts to launching my own fabric print collections. Everything becomes grist to an artist’s mill when designing. Oriental worlds of pattern have figured heavily but I do feel I was deeply affected by the landscape I grew up in. The wild coast of California gave me a lusty belief I could do anything I chose in life. When I was invited to Northern Ireland, in June 2008 to work with Patchworkers in Derry / Londonderry, I was struck by the intense beauty of the countryside surrounding, the city and the history within its battle scared walls. It was not surprising to experience the passion

and creativity that flowed from the students. My assistant, Brandon Mably and I were encouraged to find a liking of our fabrics and books but even more how the quilters took our encouragement and ran with it. You can see from this book how engaged those hands and minds are. We should all be profoundly grateful to have found such an expressive craft to channel our creative energies into. Kaffe Fassett

introduction...
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Conversations with ten different people, but with one purpose - to find out why quilting is important to them? Ten people with varying ages, life experiences and reasons for signing up for a course. A Quilt for All Seasons enables them to describe their experiences of a Calico Project quilting course run by Mission Hall Quilts. The Calico Project was operated by Mission Hall Quilts, one of the newest centres for quilting in Northern Ireland. Situated in the centre of Derry / Londonderry, and run by people with a passion, it sells a huge range of fabrics and material. Not only that. It runs a wide range of courses to suit the beginner or a seasoned quilter. Calico started providing quilting classes in August 2006. The response was overwhelming. Every class was booked out within days, and waiting lists soon appeared. People from across the city and beyond came to a range of classes to learn every aspect of the craft. Many of those who came had never quilted before. Each week between 40 and 50 people would attend classes at Mission Hall. A community of people with a shared passion for quilting has been established. Old friendships have been re-kindled, and many new friendships established as the craft crosses all sectors of society, and appeals to those from all walks of life. Calico courses were made possible by the generous support of the Peace II Programme1. There are two key words in this funding
Measure 2.4 of the PEACE II Programme

stream - ‘pathway’ and ‘transition’. They express some of the hopes of the funders. It is the desire to enable growth, development and the learning of new skills - to build a strong sense of community. Do the words ‘pathway’ and ‘transition’ describe the experiences of those whose stories are featured here? Have new skills led to new possibilities? Have new relationships been forged? There is a power in each individual story told. It is not in the way each has been written but in the fact that the experiences related are real. ‘Pathway’ and ‘transition’ become appropriate words to describe the impact on those who took part. A Quilt for All Seasons captures the experiences of ten people who participated in the quilting classes run by the Calico Project. Each has a unique story. They are stories of new skills learned. Sometimes there were challenges to be faced. In every case fresh possibilities are discovered. The benefits have not just been experienced by those who took part but by those around them too.

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Sandra Montgomery

“I don’t feel I’m the person standing at the back wall any more”. That is the effect of a quilting course on Sandra Montgomery.

Sandra has always been comfortable working with her hands. Whether it was gardening or DIY, she has always been ready to take up the challenge. Yet there is a sense in which, for her, it felt functional rather than particularly creative. Despite her practical abilities she says, “I would never have thought that I was particularly artistic or creative”. Describing herself as a “stay-at-home mum for twelve years”, she talks of the routine of “housework, kids, exams, making meals… but I had no hobbies”. She had not worked outside the home since having her second child and felt that the opportunities for meeting people were limited for her.

Coming upon Mission Hall Quilts by chance, she signed up for a course along with her daughter. “I always loved working with my hands but never took that part of me seriously”, she says. It was the beginning of a journey - one that has reached a place where quilting “has turned into a passion. It really grabs on to you and doesn’t let go… (It) has given me a real buzz in my life”.

the light bulb moment...

One of the great attractions of quilting for Sandra is that it is “like having limitless possibilities with fabric and colours… You are just held by your imagination”. In some way it has not only released a new enjoyment in creating but it has also given her a new sense of possibilities and imagination for the future. Quilting has obviously made a big impact on the Montgomery household. Sandra wants to make quilts for family members for special occasions. Her husband has even made her a design wall.

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What did the opportunity of mixing with other quilters do for her? “It renewed my faith in human nature. The positiveness from quilters is amazing”. She particularly valued the way in which they were willing to freely share what they know and have learnt. “I had not experienced that to that extent in anything else I’ve done”. As Sandra describes it, “It’s the big light bulb moment. Something switched on in my head… Quilting gives you that licence… to make and create”. She talks of getting to the stage of teaching and selling what she has made. One gets the sense that, as well as new friends and a passion for quilting, something else has happened. It is the unlocking of ideas and possibilities in her mind.

It’s the big light bulb moment. Something switched on in my head… Quilting gives you that licence… to make and create.

Tutor: Mary

Good

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Pearl Steele

Over the years Pearl has found many ways to work with her hands. She has created baskets, pictures and intricate pieces of embroidery. One of the first things you notice about any of her handiwork is the choice of colours. They are bright and happy. When Pearl was ten years old she asked her mother to let her sew. It is a skill she has used in one way or another ever since. The shirt factory was an important part of her life. Her mother was a quilter and her grandfather a tailor.

With such a background you might be forgiven for thinking that Pearl had little else to learn. Yet she feels that taking part in a quilting course has taught her a lot. When she talks about her classes she says she is “looking forward to what’s next; looking forward to seeing everyone else’s (work) and seeing all the different colours”. Pearl’s husband died five years ago. She talks of the sense of loss and new routines. Sometimes it is the simple things that are hard to bear. “It is a lonely life when your husband dies. We were always together”. She spoke about the loneliness of long evenings.

lead kindly light...

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… looking forward to what’s next; looking forward to seeing everyone else’s (work) and seeing all the different colours.

Involvement in a Luncheon Club has been a happy part of her life, as has her involvement in various crafts. However, it was her granddaughter, Emma, who suggested that she get involved in a Mission Hall class. When Pearl talks about quilting, she puts it very simply. “It has made a difference in my life”. Through the classes she meets a lot of people and enjoys the company. She enjoys it because “everyone is in the same position. Everyone is quick to help each other”. In the evenings she loves to sew. “When I sit down to sew, time flies”. Quilts are often special to the maker because of who they are made for. They also tell stories, the threads of which can go through the generations. One of Pearl’s first quilts was made for her granddaughter, Emma. On the back of it there is a woven inscription which reads, “When I was a little girl you taught me all I know. The times I loved the best, you taught me how to sew”. She talks of finding a collection of her mother’s embroidery transfers. She found them after her death and has now made a quilt of all these transfers. A quilt is like a family heirloom; those who make them and those who receive them know their true value. The pleasure of quilting for Pearl comes in “what you can create”. The classes in Mission Hall made something for her. As she says in her own words, “they made a difference in my life”. You can’t ask for much better than that.

Tutor: Michaela Morrison

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Quilts are warm and homely... It is lovely to pass that on to someone you love. There is a lot of yourself in it.

sea of tranquillity...
Paula Taylor
“You hope that your quilt is an heirloom; that it will be handed down to your offspring”. Paula’s first quilt, called ‘Love Is’, took ten months to make. It was a big commitment but made possible by doing a little bit at a time. She gave it as a gift to her daughter who was moved as she knew just how much work had gone into it. For someone who is unfamiliar with quilting it takes time to learn the value of each individual one. Seeing the time, effort and commitment that each one takes helps the onlooker to understand. Quilts are often made to mark special family occasions or given to family and friends. As Paula describes, ‘Love Is’ she sheds light on why they have such value. ‘Love Is’ is “about your family and friends. Quilts are warm and homely… It is lovely to pass that on to someone you love. There is a lot of yourself in it”.

Talking of her mother as a “wonderful dressmaker… someone I looked up to, and someone with a great eye” she describes the moment when she showed her one of her quilts. Her mother was “impressed and shocked” at what she had been able to create. Coming from someone important in her life and who had great creative skills was important for Paula “That pleased me. It gave me a great sense of achievement”. Involvement in quilting has given her something to do with old friends. It also introduces her to new ones. Along with developing friendships and learning new skills, something else is happening for Paula. “Quilting is my area of tranquillity and peace”.

When she took early retirement from teaching, quilting met a demand for her - a creative outlet. Although Paula loved the creative side of things, she had never sewn in her life and never used a sewing machine. With reading as her only hobby, she looked forward to attending a class with a friend. Paula has had rheumatoid arthritis for twenty years and described herself as “not a very physical person”. With her arthritis, she thought that she would never be able to make something like a quilt. “There are lots of things I can’t do with my hands, but quilting makes you feel normal”, says Paula. “My hands are more active than they’ve ever been. It keeps your hands and joints exercised. It is exercising your fine motor skills”.

n Tutor: Pauli

e Opeener

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for the love of andrew...
Jacqueline O’Doherty
Every day, Jacqueline O’Doherty goes to a Women’s Centre to sew. As someone able to sew since she was nine, it mightn’t be a surprise that she also signed up for a quilting class. She has now become a quilting tutor. As well as taking classes, she has travelled to other parts of the country and to Scotland to meet people involved in quilting. Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a health condition affecting around 2% of the population. Those affected experience widespread muscular and skeletal pain and fatigue, often to a disabling degree. It is a very distressing condition and one that Jacqueline has struggled with for a number of years. The effects of ill health for Jacqueline were profound. “I was that sick I didn’t want to do anything. I was tired all the time. I had nothing to look forward to. As the years went on, the FMS got worse”. One side effect of her condition was depression… “and thinking of the things you can’t do”. Movement or travel was very difficult which meant that she did not go out, and had one friend.

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I’m like Pandora’s Box. Quilting was the key to unlocking that box!

Something has had a direct and powerful effect on Jacqueline’s health and sense of well-being in the last two years. Her own words describe it most eloquently: “Quilting changed my life. I don’t take painkillers. I work through my pain (by) quilting. I don’t think of FMS any more. I am thinking about all the things I can do… I used to think of what I couldn’t do”. Asked if her involvement in quilting had changed anything about her attitude to life, she had this to say: “I believe, no matter how sick you are, there is still something you can do. The less you think about it (FMS), the more you can do. Everyone has something they’re good at”. From a place where ill health meant that even getting up the morning was a struggle to now considering a degree in quilting is a considerable journey. What has aided that journey? “I’m like Pandora’s Box. Quilting was the key to unlocking that box!” It is a journey that has affected not only her but the rest of her family for the good. The creation of a quilt is sometimes a way of marking the deepest of moments in the journey of a life. Jacqueline has a brother in the USA whose son, Andrew, was diagnosed with a serious illness. She decided to make a very special quilt to help raise funds for his treatment. Tragically, the young boy died recently before the quilt was completed. She has now given it to his father. Poignantly and fittingly, the quilt is named ‘Andrew’.

Tutor: Pauline Opeener

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fearfully and wonderfully made...
Julie Hamilton
“You wouldn’t think a wee sewing class can do so much!” The impact of a quilting class has been significant for Julie Hamilton. Talking of her involvement in the class she says, “This year was the best year of my life”. Julie has had over twenty years of ill health. A number of very significant illnesses have meant living with constant pain and discomfort. She describes the year she enrolled in a quilting course as “a bad year” for her health. Deciding to come to a Mission Hall course was no easy matter. She spent eighteen months thinking about it before summoning up the courage to put her name down. She feared being unable to complete the course because of illness. Being in company and making new friends are not pleasures Julie has been able to enjoy over the years due to her struggles with illness. It is not surprising that there were days when she felt a little overwhelmed meeting new people at her class. Yet, she found the courage to persevere and the benefits are tangible for her. The word ‘therapeutic’ refers to something “tending to cure or restore to health”. It is the word Julie uses to describe her involvement in quilting.

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You wouldn’t think a wee sewing class can do so much!

I think you do need friends. Friendship is a lot more important than I thought.

Thinking of her ongoing battle with chronic pain she says of quilting, “I’ve kept my chin up because of the classes. It gives you something to occupy your mind, away from the pain … Because of Mission Hall, I didn’t get depressed”. Quilting has opened up an artistic side to Julie’s personality that she didn’t realise she had. In fact, she says it has “opened up a whole new way of life” for her. Her own words describe the effect of using her creative abilities. “It gave me such joy to see something I’d made”. The curative effects of quilting, making new friends and the discovery of creative talents are not all that have helped to enhance Julie’s quality of life. Creating a quilt is a very personal expression. For Julie it is one of her ways of “leaving something behind. It is very important to me… my mark that I’ve made in the world”. She continued, “I haven’t had a job or met a lot of people in my life… (Quilting) is a mark that I was here”. There is a new sense of the future in Julie Hamilton’s life. She talks warmly of the place of family in her life. Being part of a quilting class showed her something else. “I always thought I could get on just on my own and with my family - I think you do need friends. Friendship is a lot more important than I thought”.

Tutor: R e

na McLe

an

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Frances Doherty

“If I didn’t have this, I wouldn’t be moving forwards”. Quite a statement about the impact of quilting; it is one that Frances Doherty does not make lightly.

Frances describes how she was “aimlessly walking up Carlisle Road” one day when the window display in Mission Hall Quilts caught her eye. Attracted by the shop and the enthusiasm of Michaela, the shop manager, she signed up for a course.

Despite some initial nervousness, the attraction of the course for Frances was simple. It was “welcoming, creative and I didn’t have to compete or prove myself”. It had a profound effect on her. Quilting opened up a whole new way of looking at and doing things. She feels that it has unlocked a creative ability which was always there but that had been suppressed. “When people have misfortunes or ill health”, Frances believes that there is great benefit in “looking to something that is simple and artistic”. She knows the truth of this from her own experience. She has Bipolar Disorder, a depressive illness. She describes her involvement in quilting as bringing many benefits.

surprised by joy...

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If I didn’t have this, I wouldn’t be moving forwards.

Describing the making of her first quilt, Frances talks of the skills that come to the fore - choosing colours, working to patterns and putting it all together in a combination that is unique to each quiltmaker. She describes how it is a process of starting with small and realistic goals. For her the quilting course provided an atmosphere of encouragement where there was no competitiveness. Reflecting on the negative effects of competitiveness in any aspect of life, she says, “Competitiveness leads to pressure - and that takes the joy out”. Creating a quilt is a very personal expression. It showed Frances that she had the ability to create something. Creating something unique that is appreciated and recognised by fellow quilters, friends and family is empowering. “It was my own handiwork. It was accepted … one of those things I did myself”. The quilting course has unlocked skills and a confidence to create. For Frances the effects of quilting have real benefit for her health and well-being. “The therapy is always the simple thing”. For her the processes of quilting somehow “bring you back to your centre”. She talks of the “therapy of bringing joy” as she reflects on the benefits that have come to her. It is something she wants to share. Perhaps Frances captures the hope of any human being when she talks of how she “wanted the passion and creativity all to come out”. The creative art of quilt-making has helped her do just that. Her hope is that it is only the beginning of manifesting what is inside. The benefits speak for themselves!

Tutor: Maeve Gallagher

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art unplugged...
Donnie Browne
As an art student Donnie Browne knew he had creative gifts. Yet, through a combination of circumstances, these had been unused for some time. As he describes it, “I hadn’t done much art for seven years. I hadn’t an interest in it for a long time”. A previous interest in fabrics meant that the shop front of Mission Hall Quilts caught his eye. A visit to the shop and an enquiry found him signing up for a “Pot Luck” course one where the participant learns a wide range of new skills. Even though Donnie had a sewing machine sitting in the house for five years, it had rarely been used. He describes how being part of a quilting course brought back not only an interest in art but also in life. Reflecting on his creative skills that had lain dormant, he talks of how the course “showed me new ways of expressing. It showed me new ways to put things together. It showed me how to think bigger”.

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...showed me new ways of expressing. It showed me new ways to put things together. It showed me how to think bigger.

... brought back art and interest in life.

For Donnie, one of the greatest benefits came in learning new skills. Cutting, sewing and learning how to piece fabric took place in an atmosphere that was “not competitive. Everyone was supporting everyone else’s progress”. His first quilt captures a theme familiar to the North West - fish. It was inspired by a visit to Greencastle. Doing something that he enjoyed was an important part of quilting for Donnie. “Since Art College I didn’t do much (art) that I enjoyed. It was something that was always there but hadn’t surfaced for a long time”. “Kind of therapeutic - relaxing” is one way in which he talks of the effects of quilting. He also talks of how it “calms”. In whatever way it has worked, he says that it has “brought back art (and) interest in life” for him. Since taking part in a quilting course, Donnie has had an exhibition of some of his work in Greencastle. He is still keen to learn and develop his skills. Having his creative talents reawakened has given him new thoughts of the future. Quilting is “making me think of a career in art. I always wanted that but didn’t have the motivation”.

Tutor: J a

cqueline

O’Doher

ty

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Not everyone would come to sew... It’s like a wee community.

for the joy of it...
Patricia McDonagh
The enjoyment of making a quilt is not the only reason people sign up for a course. “Not everyone would come to sew… It’s like a wee community”, says Patricia McDonagh. Patricia worked in some of the local shirt factories in times past. She remembers the sense of community that existed amongst workers and feels that she experiences some of that in her visits to the Mission Hall shop and her involvement in courses. “In the shop, it’s still there… that kind of closeness and spirit”. Sewing has been part of her life for many years, both in employment as well as being a pastime. She still gets a “sense of achievement from finishing a quilt… even finishing one block”. Quilting brings back many of the skills she learned, and fond memories too. One of the pleasures for Patricia has been the Show and Tell events at Mission Hall. These are opportunities for quilters to set out their own work and see other people’s work. It is a chance to exchange tips and ideas. Everyone has a unique ability to create something. This is part of what makes quilting so enjoyable for Patricia. It is also the opportunity to meet friends and enjoy the comradeship that it brings. Thinking of how Mission Hall recaptures something of the

It gave me more confidence in myself. I would never have come into a room and talked to other people. It brought me out of my shell.

M Tutor:

ary Go

od

past for her, she says, “I worked in the shirt factories with all sides of the community. All sides of the community come into the shop”. It has been some time since Patricia worked. She describes her routine as having been quiet. “I was in the house. I am divorced and have no children. Mission Hall… was somewhere to come to”. Coming to classes, mixing with new people and sharing ideas has had a great effect on her. Describing how it got her out of the house, she says, “It gave me more confidence in myself. I would never have come into a room and talked to other people. It brought me out of my shell”. It is a new confidence that, she says, has “followed me through into everyday life”. Patricia’s skill is matched by her enthusiasm. “I have a whole pile of fabric in the house. There are loads I want to make. I’m hoping this (Mission Hall) will be here for a long time”. Asked why she liked to make quilts, she says, “I make them (to tell) stories, for special occasions… and sometimes I make them just for the sake of making them”. She still creates simply for the joy of it.

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the winter has passed...
Nanda Uitterdijk
“I loved it because they are capturing something about bringing community back.” This is what attracts Nanda to the quilting courses in Mission Hall. It isn’t just the enjoyment in creating something. It also meets a human need for “relationships, friendships and people who will listen”. Originally from The Netherlands, Nanda and her husband live in Derry / Londonderry because of a strong sense of commitment to the city and its people. An expression of her Christian faith is a commitment to unity and reconciliation in the community. As someone who has moved into the city from outside, it can sometimes feel difficult to break into the strong bonds of community that already exist in the city. “As an outsider… it’s very hard”. The small human touches that come from going in and out of Mission Hall or to courses have been important. For Nanda it has been the simple things. “Last year my father had a major heart operation. It was nice to be asked how he was”. She talks of the sense of loss she felt when a close-knit church community she had been part of closed down a number of years ago. This experience, as well as that of being an outsider in a new city, simply reminded her that “you are not made to be on your own”. Her enjoyment of Mission Hall came with being with other women and

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I loved it because they are capturing something about bringing community back.

For Derry, there is another season coming. The city is entering new things.

having the opportunity to “talk to them, listen, (and) work with them on things together”. With an artistic background, she loves to create. She took part in a Shirt Off My Back course, which, as the name suggests, means using second-hand fabrics. Using material from old shirts, pyjamas and skirts gave her a sense of “tapping into the history in Derry - all the shirt factories”. For Nanda quilts have the power to tell stories. One of her quilts is entitled The Winter Has Passed. Nanda reflects on what her quilt expresses: “For Derry, there is another season coming. (The city) is entering new things”. She sees “hope coming where there has often seemed to have been so much hopelessness. I like to see new pictures coming - pictures of hope and not just all the hurt and loss”. One of her ambitions is to “make a quilt with other women for this city - a message of hope, colourful; a new story”. She sees a process taking place in the city, the telling of a new story. In the telling of that story “Mission Hall is a small part of it”.

Tutor: G a

ye Gran

t

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green pastures...
Mary Kennedy
The problem for Mary was one of time - there wasn’t enough ofit. Juggling a busy career schedule, raising four children and finishing a university course took just about every spare ounce of energy she had. A new phase in her life has just begun - she has more time. Her family has grown up, study is completed and she no longer works in the same job. But there is an even greater reason why Mary’s life is in a moment of change. A United States citizen and native of Oklahoma, she has only recently moved with her husband to live in this country.

There was a time when Mary Kennedy felt she had no time for a pastime like quilting. It wasn’t a lack of aptitude. She has sewn since she was four years old, worked as a seamstress producing speciality items, and has a family background in quilting.

Leaving family and friends is a difficult part of moving to a new country. Making new friends and adapting to different surroundings is also part of the challenge. Reflecting on her enrolment on a quilting course, she says, “It helped me to adjust to a new country, away from family and friends. I didn’t know many people here this was a good way to meet and socialise”.

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It helped me to adjust to a new country, away from family and friends.

It has been life-changing. My confidence was rebuilt.

A move to Ireland and having more time also helped Mary to reflect on the demanding lifestyle she had left behind in the US. As well as the ordinary demands of family life and study, she also ran an extremely busy counselling practice. All of this left little time or energy for herself. Quilting has had an important effect on Mary at a time of great change in her life. “Quilting was doing something for myself. I had forgotten my creative part, and how important it was to me - I (now) had time to look at things differently”. Mary’s words speak powerfully as she reflects on her quilting. “It has been life-changing. My confidence was rebuilt. I was blocked in my heart. I went through a lot of adjustment moving over here and leaving family behind”. There is a sense of energy about the future. Quilting has rekindled not only an interest in a former career as a graphic artist but designing in general (from graphic designs to quilts, other soft furnishings and accessories. “It has made me feel competent and capable again. Creative ideas are flowing. I’m getting things done. Quilting has not just opened the door… It just opened up the creativity floodgates!”

Tutor: A

nne Ca

ithness

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reflection...
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There is something that quickly becomes apparent. It does not need to be exaggerated because the reality speaks powerfully for itself. Quilting has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for all those who have been involved in it, and for those who have taken part in one of the courses at Mission Hall. For many it has been the opportunity to meet people and make new friends. For others it has been about discovering new skills, or reawakening old ones. Some have used words such as ‘relaxing’, ‘calming’ or ‘therapeutic’ to describe what quilting does for them. Positive effects on health and well-being have been experienced. The pleasure or benefit that comes to each individual may be different. Yet it still leaves a question: What is it about quilting that can have such an effect for the good? Why has a quilting course got the power to be recreation… in every sense of that word? Mary Kennedy remarks on how, as human beings, we are “social creatures. We want to belong. We like encouragement. We like to find commonalities. When people come in and find an air of acceptance… people respond to that”. All those interviewed talked of an atmosphere of acceptance and friendliness when they came along to a class. It was a place to learn new things from others as well as to share their own ideas and skills.

It has been a place for all sorts of people to meet, chat and to feel that others are interested in them. In a small way, it has been living out the qualities of community - that is something life-giving. The very nature of a quilt itself gives a clue as to why the act of making it can bring such pleasure. Think of how we use them. A quilt is something we associate with warmth, comfort and protection. It is a thing of beauty as well as being something merely functional. We place them on our beds and sofas. They are used to decorate and protect.

Making a quilt is a creative act. It is also very personal. Quilts are made for special occasions and for special people. They take an immense amount of time and effort to make. It is these things that give them such value and worth, not only for those who make them but for those who receive them as well. They are given to remind others of the love and affections of those who made them. They are heirlooms - the creative mark of the maker for others to remember them by. The word therapeutic was often used by those interviewed. Sometimes a circumstance, anxiety or pain level is so challenging that it becomes difficult to focus on anything else. It can become overwhelming. Quilting is an activity that is ordered and creative. It holds out the goal of making something beautiful. It is something done in small

achievable steps. Causing the individual to focus on doing what needs to be done in achieving each small achievable goal is to enable them to think in new ways - to see the possible. By its creative nature it also gives the mind a rest from the anxieties and challenges that may beset it. A common experience for many of our quilters was that of experiencing something being unlocked. For some it was creative abilities - either old or new. For others it was about being able to dream a new dream for the future. The manifestation is different for each person, but for each it has been the unlocking of the imagination to think of new possibilities for their future.

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acknowledgements...
A Project like this publication would not have happened without the input from a number of people from within the Cresco family. From within the Cresco office team at Pump Street a very big vote of thanks to Annette, Gillian, Helen, Cormac, Emma, Jaqi, Lindsay, Carol, Paul and Lesley. Although some may say they had little input, that is not true, because the idea of a book to celebrate the Calico Project was discussed and debated at many team meetings before it became a plan of action. At Mission Hall Quilts Michaela, Anne, Janine and Jill looked after everyone coming in to class. They are all enthusiastic quilters, with a love and a passion for the craft. The interviews highlighted how welcome people felt when they came to class, and how much they loved coming into the shop. The wonderful displays of quilts, fabrics, buttons and threads are like an Aladdin’s Cave, and it’s all the work of the team at Mission Hall. Dr. Helena Schlindwein was the external evaluator for The Calico Project, and it was Helena who captured the first indicators that something special was happening within this project. In discussions

with participants, tutors, facilitators, designers and administrators it was evident to Helena that this project was meeting its objectives, and more. It was Helena who said “this would make a wonderful book”. The idea of capturing a small sample of the impact of the Calico Project through this publication was then driven forward by Dr. Annette Begley, Research & Policy officer at Cresco. Annette devised the work plan and interview questions to provide an insight, and then in her own special style kept the rest of us on schedule to ensure we met the deadlines and put the plan into action.

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Gillian Doherty kept us all on budget, which is not an easy job, and more importantly on time, to ensure we stayed not only within budget, but got the work completed within the period allowed. This project would not have been possible without the financial assistance provided by The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland under the Peace 2 measure 2.4 initiative. We are very pleased to be able to acknowledge CFNI for supporting our Calico Project, we appreciate the risk they took with us, almost into the unknown. When planning the project we were unable to find another example of where a business and teaching model using the heritage craft of quilting and patchwork had been used to build peace. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the importance of their decision to fund us as the evaluation of the project has highlighted repeatedly the importance of the project as a peace building mechanism. Earl Storey conducted the interviews and wrote the text for this book. It is Earl’s wonderful way with words that has created this publication. It was Earl who “found” the photographer Martina Gardiner and knew that Martina would be able to capture visually the magical colours and textures of the quilts featured. It was also Earl who worked with the graphic designer Chris Conville to bring the text and photographs together. Without Earl this book would still be an idea being discussed at team meetings within Cresco. Without hesitation Kaffe Fassett said he would write the forward for us, a huge endorsement. Kaffe is a quilter with an international reputation, who held a master class for us during the Calico Project. He was inspiring, entertaining and encouraging in his enthusiasm for the Calico Project.

If the book is to be dedicated to anyone, it would be to the ten participants, and their tutors, whose stories are featured. The stories are representative of the phenomena that is Mission Hall Quilts, and a big thank you goes to everyone featured. It would also be dedicated to all those who continue to come through the doors at Fountain Street, to share their passion for quilting, and for being a part of this serendipitous journey. Margaret Lee CEO Cresco August 2008

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The Calico Project is financed by the European Union, measure 2.4 through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.