In February of this year I came up with an idea for a charity quilt. I was inspired by the Red Dress Project which uses red dresses to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). I find the images of the dresses hanging in different places so striking and haunting. When I started reading some of the statistics about MMIW I was shocked and angry. How is this happening with so few people talking about it?
I decided to start an awareness campaign using my love of quilting to reach as many people as I could. I started by calling out for help on my instagram. I expected maybe 5 people responding, I definitely did not anticipate the MASSIVE response I received. As of today I have had over 70 women from all over Canada and the US, as well as one lovely lady from New Zealand ask to help. I have received a mountain of feather blocks, as well as generous offers of free or discounted long arming services. I am totally blown away and thrilled that so many people care, and want to help make change!
So far I have finished two feather quilts. The first quilt was raffled off on Facebook and I raised a little over $500. I decided that 10% ($50) of the money would go to the Walking With Our Sisters commemorative art exhibit. I visited this beautiful installation when it was in Calgary earlier this year and it was so powerful and such a beautiful tribute to the MMIW. (check it out: http://wwoscalgary.ca/index.html ) The remaining 90% ($500) was donated to Awo Taan Healing Lodge here in Calgary. Awo Taan is an emergency women's shelter that does so much good for our community. It is such a beautiful place. I have developed a friendship with one of the elders there and I am so happy I was able to help them a little bit. I look forward to helping them more in the future!
The second quilt is going to be heading to Whitehorse with my sister next week. She is going to raffle it off up there and all of the money from that will be going to the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre (https://skookumjim.com/ ). Specifically it will be used for the Women of Wisdom program which helps Indigenous women in and around Whitehorse. The quilting on this one is so stunning. It was done by Phillipa, a lovely lady I met through the Calgary Modern Quilt Guild. (Check her out: https://www.philippagquilts.com/ ) She quilted feathers over top of each feather and I think it looks amazing!
One of my fellow quilters on instagram has really embraced this project. GeekyBobbin (https://www.instagram.com/geekybobbin/) is also assembling a quilt top in Toronto, she will be selling/raffling her quilt and donating the money to an agency which benefits Indigenous women.
Stay tuned for updates on her quilt!
Another lady on instagram (https://www.instagram.com/charhearst/) brought this project to her quilt group and they put together this stunning quilt:
I am so happy with how this project is growing! It makes my heart happy to see women supporting other women and showing them that we care and want to see the awful statistics change.
If you would like to participate in this project there are two main ways:
1. You can make a quilt, or any other form of art that includes red feathers! Please use the hashtag #RedFeatherProject on social media so that I can see what you make! I would love to see artists and makers all over making things, selling and then donating money to local agencies that help Indigenous women in their area.
2. If you would like to help me complete more quilts I would be happy to accept completed feathers, fabric to make more feathers, batting, backing fabric, or cash to cover costs of finishing and shipping. Please contact me if you would like to do this! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you would like to read more about MMIW a good place to start is http://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/
Thank you again to everyone who has helped me with this project!