The student is now becoming the teacher.
For years Karen Thatcher used the craft of quilting as therapy to heal herself from a brain injury she suffered in 1998.
She undertook the labourious task of not only putting her life back together after her accident, but also wove new ways of living to help her cope with her new condition.
Quilting trained her to think in a more linear fashion, a function many people take for granted.
Through a series of workshops in her new art, Thatcher found resonance in the craft, and climbed to the near pinnacle of the art late last month at the Canadian National Quilter’s Association juried quilt exhibition in Penticton.
The long-time Rosslander finished second in the nation in the original design abstract pictorial with her silk piece Hiking B.C.
“When you do something like that you never expect to do so well. Who knew? It was fun. It’s been a trip,” she said.
The placing now qualifies Thatcher for the role of teacher, and allows her to host her own workshops and convey the wealth of information she has learned over the years.
The quilt Thatcher made—the first of a series on playing in B.C.—was made from silk ties, donated by some of the 64,000 employees of the Jim Pattison group.
Thatcher had written to Pattison in the fall requesting a donation of ties after she elected to work in the material, but was not able to afford the cost of the material. In two months she received 4,000 ties from his companies.
Three months later Thatcher had her first quilt in the series finished and entered it into the national exhibition. Many are called but few are chosen to the national exhibition, with only 120 making the cut for the final juried component in eight categories.
In Thatcher’s category she went up against 24 other people from across Canada and the U.S. Rossland resident Deyanne Davies also made the cut for the final exhibition in the original design, non representational category, but didn’t place.
Thatcher’s award-winning quilt made out of donated materials is now destined to be donated to the Vancouver Children’s Hospital.
And her career as a teacher has now begun.
“But that’s the way things happen for me. Things tend to fall into place for me,” she said. “This award has helped. I’m already getting phone calls about classes now.”