The Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre helped celebrate Archives Week by holding a special viewing celebration for the Centennial Quilt.
The Quilt, which was created to commemorate the town’s 100th birthday in 2013, is part of the permanent collection of the Grand Coteau Centre. The quilt is being displayed in the northwest corner of the art gallery. Also on display last week was a special rug created by members of the Bench Colony that features the Centennial logo. Another quilt, created by past and present Shaunavon health care staff, was also on display last week. Each square on the hospital quilt was signed by a Shaunavon health care staff member in approximately 1978. The embroidery, assembly and hand quilting were done by Alice Grundler. Wednesday’s event celebrating Archives Week drew a good crowd. Along with getting an opportunity to view the displays, visitors were treated to a variety of refreshments. “We’ve had a very busy year and we’ve gotten a lot of research requests for information – and that’s what our archives are there for,” said Wendy Thienes, Director of the Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre. “This (the quilt unveiling) is a nice combination of what we do here,” she added. “It’s a combination of art and historical work. It shows how archives and art can meet together.” The centre piece of the celebration, of course, was the Centennial quilt. About 20 people worked for almost a year to put the quilt together. It was at the Old Tyme Country Fair during the Centennial weekend celebration. Each of the participants involved in the project made squares used in the quilt. The “log cabin” quilt blocks were arranged in a “barn raising”pattern to signify the rapid growth of the community during its early years. Photo inserts were selected to portray feelings of community spirit and reveal the handsome appearance and size of the buildings. The black and white border represents the railway. Outside blocks show many of the quilt patterns used throughout the past century. The finished quilt measures seven feet wide and 9 feet long. There are 24 quilt blocks in the centre with 32 photographs, one large photograph in the centre showing a farm outfit in the early 1930s, and one large panoramic photograph comprised of seven individual pictures. Special acknowledgment was made to Beryl Rasmussen for designing the quilt pattern and sewing the log cabin blocks, and Debbie and Gerald Fritz, and Carol Ann Hansen for piecing the blocks together. Photographs were provided by the Grand Coteau Centre, Dr. Gary Houston and Debbie and Gerald Fritz. Quilting was done by June Fritz. Hazel Elton was also recognized for coming up with the idea of creating a quilt for the Centennial. Among the quilters helping with the project were Margaret Brady, Kathleen East, Hazel Elton, Debbie and Gerald Fritz, Sandra Giasson, Lynn Girodat, Carol Ann Hansen, Judy Harkness, Doremis Krause, Wanda Larose, Mona McFadyen, Beryl Rasmussen, Peggy Ross, Joe-Ann Ruetz, Dolores Ruschkowski, Louise Sonsteby, Rose Werner and Patty Wright. “I guess it’s sort of a tribute to pioneer women of old, and to all the handmade goods that people had to make themselves rather than purchasing,” Thienes said when the quilt was finished. “Things like quilting bees and community quilts were quite popular back in the day when quilting was not just done as a hobby, but as a necessity.” A souvenir booklet describing the photos and blocks on the quilt was also produced in conjunction with the quilt. As well, a lap quilt was created using the leftover pieces and was raffled as a fundraiser during the Old Tyme Country Fair. Archives Week celebrations are made possible through grants provided by the Saskatchewan Council of Archives and Archivists.