Stitching community warmth into ‘Here and There’
By Angela Long
June 7, 2016
A trio of quilters - Shelley Houser, Dale Jewett and Jean May - have spent the past year creating a work of art to welcome the Syrian refugee family expected to arrive in Haliburton this summer.
“Here and There” reflects the refugee journey with blocks of fabric cut to dominate the centre of the quilt, yet also remain at the border. Jewett said the quilt’s border is symbolic of the Syrian border and the “many memories the refugee family has been forced to leave behind.”
As soon as the quilters heard about the efforts of the Haliburton Refugee Sponsorship Committee to bring a family to Haliburton, they began to meet every Monday. While stitching, they talked politics.
“We solved all the problems of the world,” Jewett laughed, joined by May and Houser.
The colours of the quilt reflect this camaraderie, and are what Jewett dubs “Haliburton Happy” - the lilac of spring, the sunny yellow of summer. May said they wanted the colours to feel “refreshing” after the refugees’ long journey.
“Here and There” will soon brighten one of the five bedrooms of St. George’s Anglican Church’s rectory where the family of 11 will live. (The committee was recently notified that there will also be an infant coming, making what was thought to be a family of 10 now 11.)
Houser has already been to their new home, helping out with painting. Other community members have been filling the house with furniture and other essentials.
The quilters don’t feel their efforts are anything out of the ordinary in a town they say is abuzz with volunteers.
“This whole town,” said Jewett, “this whole county, is run on volunteers.”
The trio just hopes the family will be pleased with their new home.
“The quilt is just a part of it all,” said Houser.
Part here, part there. But with a warmth that transcends all borders.