Magazine article Anglican Journal

A Passion for Quilting

Magazine article Anglican Journal

A Passion for Quilting

Article excerpt

ROBERT Louis Stevenson celebrated the imaginative magic of the comforter in his famous children's poem "The Land of Counterpane." And down on Cape Breton Island, Joanne Turner is still honouring the venerable folk art of the quilt. Each year, the 75-year-old member of Trinity Anglican Church, in the parish of Sydney Mines with Baddeck, crafts several beautiful patterned comforters and gives them away to charity or nursing home residents.

"I work on them over the winter and into the spring. It probably takes me about three or four months," said Turner, who returned to Cape Breton in 1995 after a career as a medical lab technician in cities all over Canada.

Last year, with bids starting at $300, one of her inspirational quilts ultimately fetched $5,000 in a silent auction that travelled church to church the length and breadth of the island. Turner had donated the queen-size coverlet to the Anglican Church Women Nova Scotia Board's annual project, 2015-16, entided "Ability to Live with Spirit," with proceeds going to the ALS Society of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The design, "Desert Flower," breathes the spare, spiritual quality of the American Southwest. "It was developed by Elizabeth Whitehead, based, I think, on designs of the Navajo Indians," said Turner, who takes her overall concepts from magazines such as American Quilt Sampler. Then she brings a lab technician's precision to cutting her own work patterns for the appliques.

Designs aside, Turner's comforters are meant to be warm and practical. …

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