THUNDER BAY – Ellen Olson discovered her true passion for quilting about 12 years ago after signing up for her first quilting class.
As Olson searched for a new sewing machine at a local quilt shop she found herself signing up for a quilting class, something she had never thought she would do before.
“The machine was bought to actually hem pants, but I’ve been (quilting) ever since,” Olson said Saturday during the 3rd annual Quilting Exhibition.
It’s the geometry of quilting that draws her to create dozens of different quilts for her family and friends.
She believes it’s important to have an interest in something, whether it’s reading or writing, people need to find their place they can go to relax.
“When you fire up the sewing machine you can leave it all behind and you can just get into the moment, so it’s a psychological feeling to just be in your own place.”
Olson considers quilting to be underappreciated and undervalued.
“If you go back to the 1700s and the 1800s the quilts were made and pieced by hand and it was done out of the need to be warm,” Olson said.
“Traditional quilting was done for warmth and blankets and now it’s done for art and whatever your personal need it, so it gives you individuality.”
She added that it’s good for the economy. It has evolved to be an economical boost in the community.
Olson wants to maintain the traditional roots of quilting because all arts need to have a base and she wants to keep that foundation and move on to do her own thing.
The quilting enthusiast hopes the art of quilting keeps going.
For more than 25 years, Cindy Cockell has been piecing fabrics together to created astonishing artworks.
“It’s a challenge to work with different fabrics, different colours and making something,” Cockell said.
“I do non-traditional quilts, so most of what I do are art quilts and wall paintings…basically painting a picture with fabric.”
Cockell said quilting exhibitions help quilters showcase their art and the different types of quilting.
“Most people when they think about quilting they think of a quilt on a bed and some very traditional patterns, but there’s lots of quilts,” she said.
The Baggage Building Arts Centre's Quilting Exhibition features modern quilts, art quilts and tradition quilts.
Cockell added that the exhibition shows a lot of different types of quilting and she hopes it will allow quilters to change some people’s ideas of what a quilt can be.