Our History

On March 14 1985 a steering committee of quilters consisting of Darcie Keen, Kate Strachan, Mercia Hunter, Brenda Mills and Sherryn Bryan gathered together at Bayfield High School Hall with 300 other keen people to discuss the formation of a Quilters and Patchworking Guild.

That night 200 of those people paid a $5.00 membership fee, heralding the start of Quilting and Patchworkers of Otago.

Overwhelming” was the opening comment written by the steering committee in their first newsletter at such a positive response from so many people. They went on to say “the beautiful quilts and articles brought along showed us that this craft is very much alive and well in Otago, at by your enthusiasm everyone can learn new skills in this very old art form“.

The first workshops offered by the Guild were as follows:

  • Patchwork Evening Bag; tutored by Jean Hart
  • Seminal (strip piecing); tutored by Dawn Manley
  • Log Cabin Techniques; tutored by Mercia Hunter

Early lectures given were:

  • Canadian tutor Marion Spanjerdt on Appliqué and Machine Embroidery
  • American tutor Roberta Horton on Amish Quilts

On 9 March 1995 the Quilters and Patchworkers Otago (Inc) gathered once again in celebration of their tenth birthday.

Guests of honour were four of the five founding members: Kate Strachan (the first President), Darcie Kean, Mercia Hunter and Sherryn Bryan.

Over half of the membership attended a full programme which included Shirley Wright, speaking of changes in patchworking from a retailer’s perspective. Shirley also presented the Guild with a tenth birthday gift. Shirley was accompanied by American tutor, Teresa Robinson, who demonstrated her fast turn tool and spoke of exciting new developments in patchworking.

Kate Strachan spoke of what the Guild had achieved over the past ten years. For longer term members Kate’s talk and photos were a trip down memory lane. Members also shared their own stories and brought their first quilts to display. The event showed what a long way the Guild had come in their first ten years.

In 2006 Quilters and Patchworkers of Otago (Inc) turned 21 years old. We celebrated our birthday in grand style with our 2006 extravaganza birthday party Southern Women Southern Quilts.

In 2015  we turned 30 years old and celebrated our Pearl Anniversary. On Friday night we held a function  to celebrate the opening of our exhibition  ’30 years of Quilting Then and Now’.  We were privileged to have  as our guests three of the steering committee, Darcie Kean, Sherryn Bryan and Mercia Hunter join us along with a number of previous members .
On Saturday and Sunday classes members and previous members attended classes.
On Saturday night a dinner was held . The cake was cut by our 4 life members.