Every two years, a quilt show was hosted. By May 2011, the quilt shows had out-grown two locations (the Jordan Arena and Merritton Community Centre) so Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake was their next stop. At each quilt show, the guild raffled a quilt ranging in value from $750 in the late ‘80s to $1600 in 2011
What is truly remarkable is witnessing the changes to tools, fabrics, colours and designs. Material – from old cotton dresses, shirts and food/flour bags (often crumb pieced) to the endless selection from around the world that we enjoy today. Dry cleaning means that material other than cotton can be used, thus adding texture. Equipment has developed from treadle to high-tech, computerized machines. Patterns have grown from those done by hand on cardboard to computer designs. Cutting on the kitchen table with scissors has evolved to using a drafting table and a rotary cutter. And quilting has progressed from handwork at a bee to elaborate computer designs and even embellishments like beads and lace to give the product depth of design.
Workshops have been a foundation activity since the beginning of the guild with internationally renowned speakers and teachers like Judy Mathieson and Harriet Hargrave, as well as our own very talented members.
The Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild is very proud of the work we do in supporting our communities. Over the years, Fire Quilts evolved into Community Outreach to today’s Giving Back initiatives such as:
- Victims of fire – firefighters used to carry our quilts on their trucks
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Local hospitals and churches
- Meals on Wheels
- RAFT, a Niagara Resource Service for Youth
- The Kristen French Foundation
- Gillian’s Place, YWCA and other women’s shelters
- Neonatal Quilts
In 2011, a scholarship fund was created and each year, a $1000 scholarship is awarded to a Niagara student who pursues post-secondary education in fine arts, art history, visual arts or design, with an interest in textile/fibre arts as a career or life skill.
Over the years our membership has declined for various reasons and today at 150 members strong, our mission remains the same, which is to promote the appreciation of the art of quilting.
On September 28, 2022 we finally had an opportunity to celebrate 40+ years and all things that make the Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild special. With 120 members and guests present, we had a wonderful evening listening to and watching PowerPoint presentations from some of those founding members. They talked about starting the guild and what it took to keep it going.