There are 263 quilt blocks, all made by volunteers. Each one celebrates the cultural background of 70 First Nations and 193 nations around the world from whence people have settled in Canada. It has been on tour for 12 years.
And, as you can imagine, it is HUGE!
The whole thing is in three panels that are carefully rolled up to be transported to the next exhibit space. (at the moment, it is on display at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto)
Each diamond shaped block is 9" and its position on the quilt is determined by the background colour chosen by the artist. As a result, the countries are in no particular alphabetical or regional order. It was fun listening in on people who were looking for a specific country, or suddenly thinking of a country after seeing one from a neighbour. There were also many places that were unknown to a few people. (my penchant for watching the parade of athletes/flags at the Olympics helped me recognize some of those smaller islands and African nations!)
The only constant was the First Nations who were placed on the bottom and end rows, as the foundation of the country
Pradesh had the coolest summer intern job. After 5 weeks answering questions and offering information (and helping people find requested countries) he knows more about textiles and geography than he ever thought possible. I bought the book, but you can also click on the Quilt of Belonging link and see each of the quilt blocks and learn about the design and the country. It was nice to have the quilt just there, without the encumbrance of descriptions, but those descriptions from the book helped in understanding the designs which were sometimes not that obvious.
Australia is home to over twenty-thousand varieties of flora; of which this block features but eleven of the unusual wildflowers, exquisitely stitched by Lyn Prichard. Australians rarely pick wildflowers for display, preferring them in their natural setting. The informal design also reflects the Aborigine design style often seen in their dot paintings. Clockwise from the 12 o’clock position, the flowers are: Sturt’s Desert Pea, Wattle, Kangaroo Paw, Banksia and Dryandra, Waratah, Tasmanian Blue Gum, Grevillea, Callistemon or Bottle Brush, and Geraldton Wax Flower, with Christmas Bells and Cooktown Orchids filling the centre.
This complex, three-dimensional voyageur canoe, filled with trading goods, is the work of Reverend Kathryn Gorman-Lovelady, an Elder of the Métis Council. It pays tribute to well over 300,000 Métis across Canada. The muslin-backed block is a blend of textures, talents and skills, like the Métis themselves. Wooden paddles, hand-carved by Robert Newell, accompany the canoe (representing the coureurs de bois), which is made of quilted, birchbark-patterned fabric imported from England. It is laden with traditional trading goods: barrels of colourful beads, fur pelts and bolts of cloth. The hand-made, miniature strung fiddle reflects the Métis’ love of music and proficiency as fiddle players. Framing the vignette, a miniature, multi-coloured sash, woven by Daphne Howells, incorporates blue for the Hudson Bay Métis and red for the Red River Métis.
sharing with Jo's Monday Walk