Fort St. James quilter Mona French is almost finished building her magnificent fabric masterpiece. It is based on a design called “Persian Plenty” by Joan Dyer and Mona French has been lovingly sewing 2,446 pieces of fabric together from a collection she has been gathering for 17 years from all over including Nelson, Vancouver, Dawson City and Toronto.
French has personalised the design with her fabric choice and also by quilting native prayer symbols such as sweet grass, sage, abalone shell, four feathers, beads, fire, fish and braided hair all to enrich the meaning of the colourful art even further.
French showed off her quilt at a recent biannual Quilters’ Retreat last month at the Seniors’ Friendship Centre in Vanderhoof. It was attended by approximately 40 quilters from the region who each brought work of their own to do over two days. They all stopped to admire French’s “Persian Plenty” which apparently may eventually even land up being purchased by the Queen of England. It was a very proud day for Mona French with a lot to celebrate as she just heard news that a healthy new grandson had been born.
The “Persian Plenty” design was made in 1995 by Joan Dyer of Redondo Beach, California as a wedding gift for her second daughter, Kim and her fiancé Phil Meyers. The scrap quilt has the colour scheme of teal, purple and butterscotch. Joan designed a simple block based on a nine patch unit and began making block after block, using hundreds of different fabrics. ” I followed my computer design for colour placement as I went” Joan says. She layed all the pieces out on a giant pin board and didn’t sew any blocks together until the entire quilt was on the design wall.
Joan emphasizes that laying out the blocks before stitching them together is crucial. “Contruction is not difficult,” she says “but the colour placement and setting require care.”
– with files from notes on fabric artist Joan Dyer supplied by Mona French