The annual exhibition of Kootenay quilters took place at the Prestige over the weekend. From left, quilters Caroline Foster and Suzanne Holmes. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson quilters revel in colour and craft

The annual exhibition of Kootenay quilters took place at the Prestige over the weekend

Suzanne Holmes is still proud of the second quilt she ever made, 30 years ago, for her son as he was leaving home. Her son still loves it too, she says.

“That is what I make my quilts for, to be loved and to be used.”

Holmes and Caroline Foster, the two featured quilters at this year’s Kootenay Quilter’s Guild show on Saturday at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, were set up together, surrounded by a vibrant display of their work.

Foster’s featured quilt is her illustration, in the style of painter Ted Harrison, of Robert Service’s poem The Cremation of Sam McGee.

“The story and the colour, the imagery, is so Canadian,” she says. “People are so drawn to it. People come and say their father used to recite that poem all the time.”

As in most other crafts, machines have taken over somewhat from traditional quilting handwork.

But Holmes says she has never strayed from hand quilting.

“I love hand quilting. I do not do machine quilting. I tried it once, but I just bow down to the machine quilters, they are fantastic. It takes so much work and time to get it right. But my evening activity at home is hand work.”

Both quilters talked about the expansion of quilting over the years into different forms and uses.

“It can be very functional,” says Foster, “using up old clothes, that is sort of the recycling aspect, or being very arty and doing things that will hang on walls, things for tables, quilting encompasses all that. It changes and evolves.”

“It has spread itself out nicely,” Holmes says. “Sometimes you go into an office building or a store and you will see a quilt hanging there.”

Their enjoyment of being in a room with dozens of quilters was obvious.

“You are always getting new ideas and techniques,” Foster says. “It pushes you …”

Holmes finishes Foster’s sentence: “… a little further out of your comfort zone.”

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