As part of an exhibition exploring Canadian heritage, A Thread and a Story is an exhibition by Museums of Mississauga highlighting Canadian quilts from residents, artists, and private institutional collections. This exhibition presents quilts from the MoM’s collection with traditional and contemporary styles that convey shared family traditions.

In pioneer times, textiles were difficult to access and were created out of necessity than for aesthetics. But today, quilting can be a powerful medium for artistic expression. Quilting is a universal craft where each country and region have their own unique techniques.

There are two rooms in which the quilts are exhibited. They are suspended on wires and are lined up behind one another into beautiful tapestries of colours and designs.

One of the prominent artists of the exhibit was Carol Goddu, an artist from Mississauga. She has been teaching quilting since 1985. One of her works is called “You Can’t Get There from Here.” This quilt is made from paper maps under a layer of organza. It is part of a series of quilts using paper products. The image of a map is broken in different pieces symbolizing the twists and turns of a journey.

Her quilts tell stories, such as her piece called “Dance as if no one is Watching” is an appliqué quilt that is made of hand stitching and machine. The quit depicts silhouettes of women in different dance positions. It piques an observer’s interest and gets them to wonder what the story behind the silhouettes are.

One of my favourite quilts was the “Crazy Quilt.” With its triangular patterns of yellows, blues, and purples, it reminded me of a stained-glass window that was broken and was pieced back together. The quilt was made in the late 1800s. It is made with a type of patch work using odd shaped material pieces that create a chaotic pattern. This style uses materials like velvet, satin, and silk, along with techniques like embroidery to make the design asymmetrical.

When I looked at this work, I felt it truly represented a person’s psyche. Our personalities are comprised of beliefs, experiences, and hobbies that may seem different to others and the different facets of your life may not fit on paper, but like the pieces in the quilt, you can achieve a harmonious whole. I felt very moved by this piece as I felt it spoke for the artistic vision of Canadians. I believe this exhibit can connect with the community and give historic insight into Canadian identity.

A Thread and a Story will be on display at the Bradley House until February 28.