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Peace by Piece

Overwhelming response to First World War commemorative quilt

Campus and Community

By Melanie Callahan

Peace by Piece: Quilted Memories of Newfoundland in the Great War, will find a temporary home at Grenfell Campus.

The quilt exhibition is a project of the Cabot Quilters’ Guild, and is supported by Memorial University’s WW100 fund, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Honour 100, the Government of Canada and the City of St. John’s.

Centennial anniversary

It was originally displayed in Corner Brook at an exhibition in the Corner Brook Civic Centre.

Part of the Piece by Peace quilt exhibition.
Part of the Piece by Peace quilt exhibition.
Photo: Submitted

Now, it has crossed the street in time for Grenfell’s Remembrance Day ceremony, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 10:30 a.m. in the Forest Centre atrium. The ceremony will also mark the retirement of the colours of the Second Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

As the incoming president of the Cabot Quilters’ Guild, Elsa Flack suggested a quilting project to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the First World War and to recognize the contributions of the men and women in this province.

The concept was simple: reach out to members of the quilting community to create quilt blocks to be sewn into quilts and displayed at the main quilt show held every four years.

Overwhelming response

Other than restrictions on the size of the blocks, the quilters were free to create a quilt block as they chose. Each quilter also provided a brief description of the quilt square and the story that inspired them.

Ms. Flack says she could not have anticipated the response she received. Quilters from sister guilds wanted to be involved. People with no quilting experience came forward with photographs or poetry printed on fabric that they wished to be imported into the quilt. Ingrid Verbree-Barnes of Memorial’s St. John’s campus gathered a group of university staff and friends to design the quilt, titled A Living Memorial.

What began as a request for 50 quilt squares became 246 quilt squares that reflected family pride, documented family loss and paid homage to the people who answered the call.

The quilts will be on display at Grenfell Campus until January 2017. A number of the Piece by Peace quilts will also be on display on the St. John’s campus on Thursday, Nov. 10, during the Ceremony of Remembrance.


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