“It’s really very simple,” says Shena Meadowcroft. “Help remove the oil from our wonderful coast quilts, and in doing so, help make sure that we never actually have to face doing it in person.”
That’s the central idea of a project Meadowcroft is working on with other members of the Positive Energy Quilters. The gang of quilters, whose core live on Gabriola Island, has begun their second ever project to raise money for worthy causes. This project, the “UnOILed, UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project,” has the focus of raising money for Dogwood Initiative’s No Tankers campaign to keep crude oil tankers off BC’s north coast. So far they’ve raised over $250 for the campaign with only one event!
The quilters reconnected in the late spring when Kristin Miller sent an email to other quilters. “The terrible mess with the BP oil well off the Louisiana coast has me sick at heart,” she stated in her email. “(I’m) feeling the need to do something to help prevent a similar disaster on our coast.” So the quilters gathered to raise public awareness and advocate for a permanent tanker ban.
The main project involves getting individuals to make quilt squares celebrating what they think is worth protecting about the coast and sewing those squares into quilts. The quilts will then be used at a number of events to raise money. One fundraising activity that the quilters tested at the recent Gabriola Fall Fair was covering the quilts with black “oil blotches” made of fabric and getting guests to pay a dollar to remove the blotches until each quilt is revealed in all its glory.
To date, over 50 squares have been donated. Quilters and non sewers alike have painted or sewn fabric squares. Dedicated quilters have designed and sewn six spectacular wall-hangings, many others helping to embellish them. More squares are coming in all the time and the response has been excellent.
“This project has really captured people’s hearts,” stated Meadowcroft. “I believe that people truly want to make a difference, but often feel powerless to do so. My goal is to show them how.”
“This is so much more than making a square. This is about making a statement. It’s about finally saying NO,” she said. “It’s a tangible expression of people’s feelings, and that is powerful beyond words.”
Meadowcroft intends to take this project to other communities, inspiring groups to do their own fundraising projects and supporting them through the process.
The quilts can travel to other communities where they may be used in similar fundraising efforts. Only when each quilt has been used to the greatest effect, will they be made available, some for sale, others by auction, or by raffle.