Monday, May 29, 2017

A Legacy in Wool - The Quilts of Eleanora Laffin

Today's mail brought not one, but two copies of the Summer edition of the Canadian Quilter. The editorial staff at the Canadian Quilter kindly send out two copies of the publication any time that an article you've written appears in their pages. So I turned quickly through the pages, and sure enough, found what I was looking for - "A Legacy in Wool - the Quilts of Eleanora Laffin" - an article I'd submitted some months ago about this remarkable quilter from Hornby Island, BC. It was terrific to browse the magazine and see large photos of some of her incredible work spread over three pages of the magazine.
The thing is, that long before recycling was part of our everyday vocabulary, Eleanora was searching for wool at the Hornby Island Free Store, as well as other thrift stores, and washing it and working it into her quilts. She loves the richness of the colours of wool, with a depth with which cotton can't compete, she feels; and she works these into her unique quilts in an unending variety of ways. She's now completed 52 (or perhaps even more!) quilts, and I for one, think they're deserving of an exhibit of their own. Perhaps the organizers of Quilt Canada might even be persuaded to show them when their National Juried Show comes to Vancouver next year. 
I first saw Eleanora's quilts at the Hornby Quilters outdoor quilt show in 2011, hanging under the apple trees. So rich! She's taken so many traditional quilt designs but worked them in wool with her own personal touch. When you see them, you know that no-one except Eleanora could have made them. More recent quilts are looser, more improvisational, but still with her signature style in evidence.
As well as creating these distinctive mostly wool quilts of her own, Eleanora has been the life blood of the Hornby Quilters for many, many years. I try to make it to their weekly gatherings as often as I can, and always wonder what I will find underway when I arrive. Sewing machines are brought out and cutting equipment and make-do design walls are set-up, and the business of making quilts for the community as well as helping one another with our own projects is soon underway. The afternoon ends with tea and goodies, and loose plans are made for what comes next. Being a part of it all, of the Hornby Quilters, has enriched my life enormously, and it's Eleanora who keeps us all organized and (somewhat) on track. So here's a toast to a remarkable woman, who I feel fortunate to call a friend - a quilter par excellence - with a heart of gold, and a creative spirit and freedom that are uniquely hers. To Eleanora!

1 comment:

  1. For more than 45 years Eleanora has helped in so many ways to "keep Hornby organized and on track." Leading by example. Just walk past the Laffin home ,stiudo,garden and wood lot. I feel like I am passing a Cathedral .Eleanora's tenure on Hornby began years before it was fasionable to be a back to the lander. In the mid 60's and 70's,of the 120 or so year round residents so many come to mind who were strong women who led our community.Hard wirking women who were not afarid to take a chance. The outside the box thinking that saw our 1898 school saved and moved to the New Horisions property for a Fabricators Center. The magnificent history of quilting on Hornby. Those quilts displayed at our Co-Op store that opened in 1954 in Pete Osby's twenty by twenty all hand split red cedar shed. Way before Co-Op's were fashionable. Held together by the glue of women like Elnora,Rita.HILLARY,Murial,Betty.the first chair of the Islands Trust. Then there was Kalab and Joan living up at Stanyard's ,who gave birth to our underground Co-Op,what a wake up call for keeping our store priced more afordably. Judy Cross who stood up publicly for what she knew was right.Then Jennifer who defied logic in the service and range of products she brought on island to help us all. Elnanora there with all these magnificent women demonstrating what a powerful Cathedral Hornby has always been. Celibrating our continuing rights of passage. Still we heal and dance !