The Western Branch Volvo Ocean Race adventure began when we were asked by Caroline Moran, Manager of the Craft Village, if some of our Cu na Mara panels could be used as branding for the Craft village. Following that, Caroline asked for some of the panels and other quilts to hang in the Craft Village. She also offered the WBIPS a stand for the 4th of July where we could give demonstrations of patchwork. And so it came to pass!
For the display 4 Cu na Mara panels and several larger quilts were gathered so that Caroline could select which to hang from the rafters of the marquee. A wide selection of smaller quilts were gathered from W. Branch members to add spots of colour and texture to 4 specially designated display areas in the tent which were used to highlight one-off examples of excellence in Irish Craft and Design. These quilts would hang for the duration of the Volvo Week.
Early on Friday June 29th Jackie O'Toole and Anne Marie Horan struggled womanfully through the muddy quagmire that was the Global Village site carrying the quilts gathered up, plus an assortment of poles and double sided sticky tape. (where would we be without it?) They put labels on all quilts and met with Caroline who made her selection of the quilts she wanted to hang. Unfortunately only 4 Cu na Mara panels and 2 large quilts could be hung from the rafters as some of the areas proved too high to be accessed without a cherry picker. Panels from Lynn Naughton, Veronika Feldman, Mari Moran and Colette O'Donnell and quilts from Mogs O'Donnell and AM Horan and J O'Toole were hung from the rafters.
Much later on Friday the selection of smaller quilts was made and we were able to bring home the rest. Security was a big concern and we almost felt like detectives ensuring a chain of evidence...making sure that unhung quilts were not left unattended at any time. Suffice it to say that all quilts donated were returned safely to owners with no strays.
July 4th dawned with a bit of sunshine......surprise surprise! The rota of volunteers was all set and a lovely display of quilts decorated the stand. In addition we had all the usual equipment to make some blocks. The plan was that over the course of the day, members would make and quilt a 12" block using 3 fabrics which Brenda Maloney, of Clew Bay Quilting, had kindly donated. That way, visitors would get to see the whole process from cutting to quilting and as each block was completed it was displayed on the stand.
Throughout he day (from 10am til 8pm) we had many visitors, quilters and none quilters alike. (A really strange one was a nearby stall holder who visited often to avail of the Cadbury's Roses in a basket on the stand!) Two 6 year olds started their quilting adventure as they made a 4 patch and one of them took it home for her Mam to finish (Mam had taken lessons from Rita Scannell while in school. It's a small world.)
Coming up to lunch time the excitement quotient rose when Uachtaran na hEireann, Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina arrived for a visit. We presented Sabina with some of the cards made of the Cu na Mara panels and somebody somewhere has a photo of the presentation. Later in the day the parents of Volvo sailor Ian Walker came by to buy one of the Corrib Quilters "Sailing By" panels as a gift for the organiser of the Galway stopover. There's fancy for you! At the end of the day the stand was dismantled but we have many new enquiries to follow up for our September meeting.
We have seven blocks made and quilted so far and will look to completing the rest before Christmas. The completed quilt will be donated to charity later in the year when members make a decision which charity will benefit.
At the end of the week Margaret Cunnane, aided and abetted by husband Peter carefully took down and accounted for all the quilts on display. Thank you to all who helped in any way.