The Quilted Community
Quilt making is a form of cultural expression that transcends time and place. Quilts use patterns and symbols to stitch together material fragments into a meaningful expression of collective identity and belonging.
Working with 6 divisions across the school, Julie created quilt patterns that connected to their chosen thematic focus. Truth and Reconciliation was chosen as the theme of the quilt for Grades 5-7 as a way to synthesize their classroom studies on the topic. We looked at the secret codes behind quilt patterns from the underground railway, as well as symbolism in the “Witness Blanket”, “UBC Reconciliation Pole” and the “Quilt of Belonging” to explore how complex ideas can be expressed thoughtfully and effectively by community. In turn, we created quilt block patterns that gave students the opportunity to communicate their own personality within the pattern, by choice of colour, pattern and placement.
For Division 6, Julie created a patchwork block pattern based on the traditional patterns of The Maple Leaf, Flying Geese and Crossroads as the backdrop to their exploration of Truth and Reconciliation. For Division 4, Julie combined the Basket Quilt, the Flying Geese pattern and the Log Cabin block to help them reconcile the ideals of Canada with its history.
Each class had a robust discussion around which quilt pattern to sew once the blocks were all glued together and backing added. Division 6 decided to stitch in the words “Rebuild, Hope Together, Promise” or “Listen Process Future Sharing” to literally and figuratively layer ideas and physical materials within the work. After a heated debate, Division 4 chose from the quilt patterns of Tape, Turtle, 7 Stars and Keys that Julie created for them.
When all quilt blocks were combined together, the classes witnessed that the whole was indeed greater than the sum of the parts, but also how crucial each piece was to the look of the whole.