The Canadian Red Cross Quilts – Glasgow, Birmingham, London – 2016
– In Memory of Dr Anna Mansi, CRCQ Research Group
A celebration of quilting and social history – with love sewn in!
This unique exhibition of 40 quilts celebrates the tradition of sewing, 'make do and mend', and the power of the human spirit for compassion towards each other in times of need.
Amidst the hardships and uncertainty of WWII came warm, colourful quilts from abroad; thousands of Canadian women created quilts for Britain as part of their contribution to the war effort to ease the plight of people struggling with the conditions of war.
Many thousands of quilts were sent, including 25,000 from the Nova Scotia region of Canada alone. Many reflect the "make do and mend ethos" of the era, when every scrap of material was used. From the thousands that were created only some have been saved but those that do contain great textile samples from the war years. Each quilt on display has a unique storyboard that offers an insightful narrative about its creation and destination.
Red Cross workers gather to quilt at their headquarters
in the Kenora Public Library during World War II.
(Photograph by kind permission of the Lake of the Woods
Museum, Kenora, Ontario Canada)
One quilter with 18 children walked 2 miles every week so that she could sew. It was a social occasion, where women would sew and chat. Some of the groups are still thriving today, including the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire.
In Britain those receiving quilts were people made homeless by the bombing or forced to relocate to make room for training troops, those in hospitals and day nurseries and for Canadian Armed Forces in London. The quilts were distributed by the Women's Royal Voluntary Society, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
A boy who was evacuated from his home near London was given a patchwork blanket at King's Cross railway station just before travelling to Macclesfield to stay with another family for the remainder of the war.
The Canadian Red Cross Research Group was formed by Dr Anna Mansi, Maxine March and Jackie Maxwell, all experienced quilters and members of The Quilters' Guild.
We are extremely sorry to announce that since the ‘Comfort from Kindness’ project started, very sadly and quite unexpectedly, Dr Anna Mansi took ill and has recently passed away. Dr Mansi was due to travel up to the exhibition to talk and to sign her book Comfort from Kindness
Mary Duncan, President of the Canadian Women’s Club in Scotland, will be giving 2 talks about the history of the quilts and the work of the CRCQ Research Group during the Glasgow Exhibition.
Friday 4th March - 2pm in the Lecture Theatre
Saturday 5th March - 11am in the Lecture Theatre
The exhibition is part of ICHF The Quilting Show - a showcase of the UK's finest patchwork and quilting highlighting the wonderful work of Scottish quilters with the aim of encouraging all aspects of patchwork and quilting. With talks, competitions, demonstrations, workshops and so much more, this is a true patchworker's paradise!
See events along the right hand side of this page (or below for mobiles).
The CRCQ Research Group – Canadian Red Cross Quilt book Comfort from Kindness will be for sale.
WMT trade stand in the hall.
There is also an opportunity to donate new blankets of compassion and comfort.
WMT would like to thank the Research Group for sharing their exceptional collection for this exhibition enabling others to experience a part of history that is memorable in craft and spirit.
Special thanks to Tony Mansi, husband of Dr Anna Mansi, for all of his work, honouring her last wishes and making sure that the exhibition could still go ahead, and to Mary Duncan, President of the Canadian Women’s Club in Scotland.