NEWINGTON – A craft that can be traced back over 5,000 years to Ancient Egypt needs willing hands to carry it into the future and one local club has your ticket.
Peek inside the Community Room at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library to see the intricate handiwork of the Greater Hartford Quilt Guild (GHQG), now on display through May 31.
Members gave a presentation at the library twice this past week in a concerted effort to gather interest from local quilters and new membership.
“Over the last five years - especially since the pandemic - membership has declined,” Guild President Brenda Auerbach explained. “Now we have to do outreach we’ve never done before.”
It used to be that quilters who knew other quilters invited them to join the GHQG, which has 11 chapters in towns across the Greater Hartford region, including Newington and Berlin.
The 1990s was the Guild’s golden era, boasting over 900 members. Currently there are only about 300 people who pay the $25 yearly dues and participate in monthly chapter meetings, quilt shows and charity giving.
The GHQG has donated quilts to homeless people, refugees, veterans and children in need.
While many members are skilled in traditional quilting, some have delved into quilt artistry, employing modern techniques and methods with dazzling results.
Examples of both types of quilting can be seen in the LRWL’s current exhibition.
Member Colleen Sheridan created an audio-visual presentation highlighting the history of quilting entitled, “Not your Grandmother’s Quilt.” It was shown to program attendees.
“Newington was the ideal location for us to start this outreach,” Auerbach pointed out. “We called about four libraries and theirs was really receptive to the idea. Staff is really supportive; it’s been wonderful.”
The GHQG’s Newington chapter currently has about 17 members and Berlin’s has about 15.
LRWL Head of Community Services Michelle Royer was impressed by the Guild’s talents and eager to help the cause.
“What we hope to do with the Newington chapter are some small make-and-take events,” Royer said. “We’re hoping it will be a win-win for everybody.”
Quilters interested in joining or people who are ready to learn the craft are encouraged to visit the Guild’s webpage at GHQG.org or email email@example.com.
“Quilting is relaxing; it’s enjoyable,” Auerbach said. “And it’s not too costly of a hobby to start.”
Auerbach was preparing to embark on a four-day quilting retreat when she spoke to the Herald.
“It’s going to be a lot of eating and sewing,” she said.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.