Friday Feature Artist: Textile Artist Esther Bryan and the Quilt of Belonging

quiltAs authors, we create beauty with the written word. Esther Bryan and her many helpers use a variety of media to create lasting works of art like the Quilt of Belonging. But the Quilt of Belonging is more than an art project; it is the story of all the different ethnic groups who make up the mosaic of Canadian society. Visit the website to learn more.

historyThe Quilt of Belonging project started in the fall of 1998 by artist Esther Bryan. After visiting Slovakia with her parents in 1995, a place her father had left 43 years earlier, she dreamt of creating a piece of art that would allow every group and culture to tell its own unique story. In her creation, visitors can see that there is “A Place for All”.

squareI first got involved with the Quilt of Belonging project when a close friend and fellow teacher lost her teenage daughter suddenly. Those of us who worked with her wanted to do something special and so I contacted Esther and supported the construction of one of the blocks in Sarah Meyer’s memory. The block chosen was the one dedicated to the small country of San Marino, the world’s oldest surviving republic, only 60.5 sq km in size, founded in 321, AD.

Today, the quilt is 120 feet long and 10 feet high, with 263 squares representing 71 aboriginal groups and the 192 immigrant nationalities found in Canada. Each block is unique, designed and created by hand incorporating a number of different media ranging from abalone shell, to porcupine quills, bobbin lace to worry dolls. It must be seen to be truly appreciated and I had the opportunity to see it last night at a reception at Ottawa City Hall hosted by the Slovakian ambassador to Canada.


costumeIt was an incredible thing to see all of the people there.  Some wore national dress. I had a conversation with a woman from Slovakia, sampled their cheese and sausage, ass well as their wines. My husband John met an up-and-coming aboriginal artist who recognized the Star Trek insignia on his shirt.  As Dr, Seuss once said, “it’s amazing the people you’ll meet.”

John and Norman

Canada officially turns 150 years old on July 1, 2017. My country has a proud heritage that goes back much farther than that, but we are a wonderful nation with people who believe in the dignity of all.

I am proud to be a Canadian, proud of my country, its rich heritage and all of those who contributed–past and present–to making it the place it is today.

Happy Birthday, Canada. You look great for your age!


2 thoughts on “Friday Feature Artist: Textile Artist Esther Bryan and the Quilt of Belonging

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s