Grey Highlands History
Owned by: Grey Highlands Public Library
Sponsored by: Grey Highlands
Located: 101 Highland Drive, Flesherton, ON
The Barn Quilt displayed at the Grey Highlands Public Library celebrates our heritage and expresses features of our landscape and daily life. Quilt blocks often are “representational,” – that is to say, ideas quilters wish to convey through textile artistry, are expressed symbolically rather than as exact picture
images. Following is an explanation of the use of symbols in this quilt.
Looking at the quilt, four small blocks are placed within a larger block known as the “disappearing nine- patch.” At the bottom is a log cabin block with the traditional red square in the centre which represents the heart of the home – the kitchen with the cookstove. Log cabins represent housing, both primitive
At the top is a circular block. Note how the white spokes give the impression of a wheel. Wheels enable transportation and are used for farm and machine work. In Grey Highlands, we can’t go far without our wheels. The transportation and community development motifs are also expressed by the railway border that wraps the quilt. It reminds us of trains that transported passengers and cargo. It is also a symbolic reference to the “underground railway” that transported black slaves to freedom in Canada and enabled them to settle in rural communities.
In the right quadrant, a flying geese block represents wildlife. In Grey Highlands we see deer, coyotes, birds and butterflies.
The red triangles in this block are placed in windmill formation. Traditional windmills harnessed the wind to pump water from wells-primarily for livestock watering but sometimes for farm home water needs. We still see decaying windmills on our farmland.
The left block also contains flying geese triangles. The green and yellow colours symbolize agriculture. Crops spring up green and ripen to gold at harvest, representing seasons and time. In the centre of this block, the white and yellow triangles form an hourglass pattern which further develops the concept of time. Additionally, the green triangles can be viewed as arrowheads to acknowledge the first
people who lived here.
The brown around the small blocks represents a rail fence to acknowledge cedar split rail fences built by farmers and settlers. The three primary colours of red, yellow and blue balance visual impressions in art and the earthy colours of grey, green and brown develop the nature theme.
Creating the Barn Quilt for the Library was a definite quilting challenge: choosing colours and geometrical shapes and telling a story about Grey Highlands landscape, history and community in a visually pleasing, special and beautiful art quilt was an achievement! We expect that as the library barn quilt is recognized as a local landmark, it will be enjoyed for many years.
Special thanks to:
• Gayle Larmond, local quilter- for design expertise and pattern creation and for writing the Quilt Story
• Hiliary Breadner, For the Love of Grey Barn Quilt Trail, for consultation, design, construction and painting.
• Friends of the Flesherton Library- for design consultation and approval
• Wilda Allen, CEO/Chief Librarian for generating ideas to be expressed by the Barn Quilt and leading the barn quilt project to completion