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Peace by piece

Great War quilt exhibit on display at Queen Elizabeth II Library

Campus and Community

By Kristine Power

Peace by Piece: Quilted Memories of Newfoundland in the Great War is currently on display in Memorial’s First Space Gallery.

The exhibit is a project of the Cabot Quilters’ Guild; the guild invited quilters to submit quilt blocks, which were then made into quilts. More than 250 quilt blocks share the stories of Newfoundlanders who fought in the First World War. The material they depict ranges from the personal to the political.

1/ We Stand

Quilt blocks made by the Sharpe family, inspired by the Ode to Newfoundland. Hand-quilted by Elsa Flack, Sharon Griffin and Karen Tibbs; binding by Heather French.

Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

2/ A Wall of Quilts

Seventeen quilts in total are hanging in the First Space Gallery, Queen Elizabeth II Library. The exhibit runs until April 20.

Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

3/ Women in the War and Answer the Call

At left, Women in the War depicts women's wartime contributions. Quilt blocks by Lynn Butt, Maureen Fahey, Elsa Flack, Bev McFadyen, Carol Ann Mercer (Sharpe), Valerie Neary and Judy Nolan. Pieced, hand-quilted and binding by Sandra E. Nixon. At right, Answer the Call features soldiers' clothing and other items. Quilt blocks by Jessica Blackmore, Susan Furneaux, Marie Dunphy Harding, Judy Nolan, Debbie Northover, Ellen Penney, Eleanor Robson, Sheila Swett, and June Walker-Wilson. Pieced, hand-quilted and binding by Elizabeth Laite.

Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

4/ A Military Family Tribute

Some of the 15 quilt blocks made by nine family members of the Barnes and Verbree families. Pieced by Valerie Northover and machine quilted by Beverly Gardner.

Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

5/ Bowring Park

Monuments in Bowring Park, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Quilt blocks by Sandra E. Nixon and Elsa Flack. Pieced, hand-quilted and binding by Theresa Johnson.

Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

6/ Shadows of War

One of the twelve quilt blocks by students of the Textiles and Apparel Studies Program, College of the North Atlantic (May 2015). Barry Buckle (instructor), Pam Beck, Heather Chafe, Alisha Conrad, Erica Dawe, Peter Dawe, Joesphine Doyle, Emilie Pittman, Julia Slöterau, Amy Thorne, and Junlu Zhao. Pieced by Paula Cramm. Machine quilted and binding by Ann Casey.

Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The exhibit has been seen in more than 30 venues since it opened in May 2016. Four of the quilts were sent to the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial Park for commemorative events in July 2016.

“We are honoured and proud to have Peace by Piece on display,” said Susan Cleyle, university librarian, Memorial University Libraries.

“The incredible artistry that went into these quilts is a profound and creative tribute to the experiences of Newfoundlanders in the First World War.”

The quilts will be on display in the First Space Gallery, Queen Elizabeth II Library, until April 20. The project is supported by the university’s Living Memorial Commemoration Fund, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Honour 100, the Government of Canada and the City of St. John’s.

To view First World War artifacts in Archives and Special Collections, please visit here.

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