Nov 16, 2009

Alma Elias, Quilter

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
How did you come to have an interest in quilting?

I loved fabrics and I wanted to make a memory quilt for my son.

My mother was an inspiration. She sewed out of necessity but she was always creative. She sewed most of my clothes including dresses with three tiered skirts and puffed sleeves. My sisters and I felt special in our Sunday best. Mom had an artistic eye and she adored beautiful fabrics. I can still see her caressing bolts of fabric in Friesen's Dept. Store.

When I got married I was a student so out of necessity I too learned to sew. I found I enjoyed making my own clothes and also adding a personal touch to curtains and wool comforter coverings.

When my first son was 6 years old I wanted to make a memory quilt for his bed so my very first quilt was made of his fabric crayon drawings on squares that alternated with checked squares. I still have it. It's still precious.

Why did you choose to do "Easter Sunday"?

I love the watercolor technique. I enrolled in a class and started to prepare my more than 200 two-inch squares of different fabrics. Our assignment was to make a 13 by 15 two-inch square block. But I had this picture in my mind that wouldn't go away. I pictured a cross on a floral background with glowing light radiating behind it. And it was big. I saw it hanging in the front of our church. So I approached our pastor saying I had an idea for a quilt for Easter Sunday. Would he be open to using it as an aid to worship? I received a definite yes. So I kept on working. Now I really should have made that 13 by 15 2-inch square block because I did a lot of ripping and substituting. Watercolor technique looks much easier than it really is. One 2-inch square turned one-quarter turn can interrupt the flow of line or color. When it was completed, there were 2000 2-inch squares behind and around the cross and it was ready for Easter Sunday 2000.

For the complete interview click on Mennonite Women Canada under links and go to Visual Art.

Photo by John Elias

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