In 1981 a fundraising idea for the Greater Vancouver Mining Women's Association led to the formation of a quilt that has meant much to the members ever since.
The idea was to create a mining themed quilt that would be raffled off. From candle spikes to battery powered hard hat lamps, and from gold panning to dump trucks, over thirty squares were designed with scenes and objects that depicted mining past and present. One of the squares was even of the Britannia Mine Mill 3. Twenty five members took up the challenge of creating the quilt - some who had never quilted before. It took 300 hours of quilting to bring this wonderful piece together.
After it was raffled off, the winner never actually took possession of it. A cash contribution from Bob Pollock and Jack Greenwood (two of the Museum's early pioneers and supporters) saw the quilt being donated to the Museum - then the BC Museum of Mining. It has been in our Collections ever since, though owing to a lack of space and ideal conditions in which to display it, it has been safely kept in our collections store.
As the Curator, I caught a glimpse of the significance of the quilt to the members at their 30th anniversary celebrations in 2008. Our Director and myself were invited to their celebratory lunch, and to take the quilt along to display for the duration. As we arrived with the quilt rolled up it was clear that some of the members had been waiting for it with much anticipation. "I heard the quilt was here!" was one eager comment I heard and it wasn't the only one. We also had several members 'mustering' around our display table waiting for us to unroll it. There seemed to be a lot of nostalgia floating around as members poured over the squares reminiscing about its creation. For artefacts that spend much of their time in storage it was nice to be able to bring this piece out again, even just for a short while.
The GVMWA has a page dedicated to the quilt, along with the names of the quilters.
The photos below are a sample of the embroidery work completed by the women.
Header photo courtesy of GVMWA.