They came in all shapes, patterns and sizes. They were intricately designed, featured vibrant colours, were hand crafted with care and put on display for people to admire.
More than 200 people gathered in Smithers for the first lakeside quilt show and tea garden fundraiser that helped raise more than $7,000 for the Bulkley Valley Hospice Society — one of the largest donations they’ve ever received.
“I think quilts show so well outside because there’s natural light. So you see all the colours and you can get up close,” said Wendy Brassard, one of the organizers of the event.
“The whole atmosphere of the quilt show was very relaxed. People just enjoyed the gardens, the quilts, the tea.”
There were 102 hand- or machine-sewn quilts on display at a house on Lake Kathlyn on July 19, many of which were on loan from 40 different quilting groups or individuals from around the northwest.
One of the most popular displays of the day was sewn by Smithers quilter Rosamund Pojar.
Organizers agreed the event was a huge success, raising $7,028 in one day and drawing people from Switzerland, Kitimat and Prince Rupert.
“I think the community supports the [Bulkley Valley Hospice Society] and the idea of keeping money within the community,” said Kathy Davidson, another event organizer. “I think it was a real community feeling. People met and talked to people that they haven’t seen in a long time.”
According to Brassard, they put together the fundraiser because she wanted to give back to the community.
“I was feeling guilty about not doing a lot of volunteer work,” she said. “I thought ‘okay, what do I like to do — I like to quilt and I like to garden’ and how do I turn that into a fundraiser?”
The hospice society was the natural choice for their donation, noted Davidson.
“They do so much for the community and in such a variety of ways that I don’t think anyone really knows what they do,” she said. “They see and help families when they’re in a crisis. At a time that they’re emotionally overloaded as well as physically drained.”
Denise Kalina is a coordinator with the BV Hospice Society and also attended the event.
She said they were floored with the success of the event.
“I was just blown way by the amount of work and organization that went into the event. They were beautiful gardens,” she said. “It was beautiful, unless you attended it, it’s hard to put things into words.”
Kalina noted about half of the money will go toward a new Roho mattress, which prevents the breakdown of skin, while the remainder of the money will go toward equipment and education.
“I am not aware of any other fundraising event that raised this large of a donation for BV Hospice Society,” Kalina said.
Brassard added that the event would not have been possible without the help of some 50 volunteers and Peggy Armstrong who provided the tea.
And will Brassard and Davidson organize another quilt show fundraiser?
“Yeah,” they replied in unison.