Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The 'wondrous' quilt

Stained Glass Quilt
designed and made by Peggy Molchanoff, Lyn Lang and Susan McMahon.
Fairholme Quilters 2014 - 2015

Today, a number of us proudly witnessed three of our members, Peggy Molchanoff, Lyn Lang and Susan McMahon being awarded Third Prize in the Group/Collaborative Quilt Category at the 2015 Sydney Quilt Show, for their quilt, made on behalf of Fairholme Quilters, and on commission for a local nursing home.

Congratulations Peggy, Lyn and Susan - your award is so well deserved.

Just after the awards presentation this morning
- from left, Susan McMahon, Peggy Molchanoff, Lyn Lang

On the Show label the quilt is called 'Light', although it is now better known as the "Stained Glass Quilt', or simply as 'the wondrous quilt'.

Here is the back story, in brief ...

For some years Fairholme Quilters has made quilts for the use of individual residents of the Donald Coburn Centre, a nursing home at the Anglican Retirement Villages at Castle Hill, to warm and comfort them. A year or so ago we handed over a tactile wall quilt that had been requested by the diversional therapists, that presented a new challenge for us, and that they were very happy with.

Soon after, on the  strength of our previous donations, the chaplain asked if we could make a wall hanging or panel for a bare wall in a room used for various activities, and for services for those residents unable to make the short journey the beautiful onsite chapel. The brief was for something simply graphic, based on easily recognisably Christian images, that would remind residents,  who might have advanced dementia, that it was their place of worship. We thought we could.

Three members, Peggy Molchanoff, Lyn Lang and Susan McMahon volunteered to take on the task, and began looking at potential designs and techniques after inspecting the room where it was to hang. Nothing quite gelled, so they came up with an original design: three panels to be hung closely together, suggesting a stained glass window, with a graphic design that would meet the brief. Transferring that design from a sketch to fabric was greatly assisted by Peggy's husband Peter making a life-sized drawing in correct scale. Each of the women then prepared one panel, using applique and bias-binding to realise the stained glass effect in fabric.

Most of the 'glass' fabric was donated by Fairholme members, and Lyn found a very effective background fabric that has a look of sandstone, emulating a church wall.  Fairholme donated the remaining materials, but Peggy, Lyn and Susan donated all of their time and expertise - and there was a great deal of both required. Lyn quilted the panels by outlining the 'glass' pieces, and in a masonry pattern on the wall sections. The panels were joined into a single piece for better hanging, measuring 84 x 63 inches.

As we watched the quilt come together, we were astounded at every step, by the exquisite workmanship and the stunning design. As it neared completion we could really see the illusion of light coming through the 'glass' - we knew that the brief had been more than realised, and that the residents, chaplain and therapists would be delighted.

The whole process took about nine months, and none of the three quilters spent much time on their own work during that time. There were problems that had to be solved, work that was redone when it did not come up to their exacting standards, as well as rewards when things went well.

The quilt was delivered to the Donald Coburn Centre a few days before Easter this year, and was hung the same day, so it would be in place for the Easter Sunday service.

The chaplain, Ben Boland was indeed delighted, as were the residents, their families and the staff. In his letter of thanks, Ben referred to it as 'this wondrous quilt'. We noted in the accompanying photos that it had been promoted from a side wall to the front of the room, so it seems it is doing its job.

We cannot thank Peggy, Lyn and Susan enough, for representing Fairholme Quilters so well, in this task, and for their dedication to it. It is a great gift to our community, that we were pleased to be able to give.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, truly beautiful, and a labour of love. Well done girls.