The fifth in the series from The Canadian Embroiderer’s Guild of Guelph for Canada’s 150th birthday and today is about the connections and threads that keep us together.
To all our American friends, I wish you a happy and safe American Independence Day tomorrow.
Threads Of Our Country
Every Canadian citizen is a thread in the fabric that we call Canada. Our strength comes from weaving all those individuals into a sturdy, durable fabric.
I wanted to put together some of the many types of stitching that come together in Canada – especially at the Embroidery Guild. Shown are Norwegian Hardanger, Brazilian Embroidery, Porcupine Quillwork with beads, Stumpwork, Machine Stitching. Jugoslavian border (Bosnian woman’s cap) and English smocking. I estimate that this piece took 60 + hours to complete.
Emigration and Immigration
I arrived in Canada in late October 1969 from Scotland. I did not plan to stay long in Canada but only to use it as a jumping off spot for my “round the world trip” to New Zealand and then return to Scotland. My girl friend, who was to accompany me, backed out for personal reasons and since I had given up my job and social organizations, I decided to come on my own!
On my arrival at Toronto airport I was greeted by several inches of snow and a howling wind and I was wearing my skinny wool coat. But I did not experience real cold until I moved to London a few weeks later. It was so cold and the wind chill so biting, I thought that Canada was the most God forsaken country in the world! I was so homesick and I thought that I was never going to be warm again.
However, I found a Canadian coat called LaParka by Linda Lundstrom and it was bright red! The colour cheered me up and kept me warm for many winters, since by that time I had met a fella.
The rest is history.
We arrived in Canada as immigrants from England in November 1986.
Looking out of the window of my new home in Ottawa, all I could see was white and grey. The roads were white with salt and frost, the grass was blanketed in snow as were the roofs of all the buildings which were all shades of white, cream and beige. Even the evergreen trees were tightly bundled in burlap. There was no one to be seen in the street. I thought I had landed on the moon and I was very homesick.
It took a long time for me to see the beauty in the winter, the silver glints amongst the grey, and admire the cold, crisp sunny days.
Embroidery, Stitching and Fabric
As a child, my mother showed me how to embroider and cross stitch on cloth. As an adult, I learned to make large bed quilts, art quilts and art bras full of free motion quilting as well as embroidery and beading. As a child of immigrants (from Poland), I am grateful for my life, my family and all my creative adventures in Canada.
According to popular history, escaping slaves were guided on their way by quilts displayed on clotheslines or porch railings. Log cabins meant a safe house.
The Flying Geese pattern meant: “Follow the migrating geese northward to find sanctuary in Canada”.
Canada’s Fall Colours
The riot of colours of maple leaves each Fall evokes fond memories of my first Fall in Canada, thirty years ago in Montreal. I never cease to be amazed at these delightful colours.
My Canada is filled with caring people who support one another.
I’ve met the most incredibly giving people through my involvement with the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. I can’t think of a better volunteer job than to foster future dog guide puppies who grow up to be life changing partners for the client with whom they are paired. These wonderful Dog Guides provide disabled Canadians with greater security and independence to live their lives to the fullest.