After Swissair

Sea Change  is hand appliqued, machine pieced and hand quilted.

Sea Change is hand appliqued, machine pieced and hand quilted.

On September 2, 1998 Swissair flight 111 crashed into the ocean not very far from where we were living.  All 229 people on board died. It was a moment in time that affected our community deeply - so many people on shore from the fisherman to the first responders, to the clergy to the "families" came together to do the best they could.  The search, the recovery, the mourning - we all have our own memories, some good some not so good. On the one year anniversary, a local well-known author Budge Wilson read a commentary on CBC Radio.  She spoke from her heart about what she and our community had been through.  She spoke of a "sea change", and according to Wikipedia, "sea change" is an idiom for broad transformation drawn from a phrase in Shakespeare's The Tempest.  For me that term fit perfectly and I made this small quilt.  The log cabin blocks symbolize the families of the victims whose lives had been torn apart.  As well, they symbolize those of us on shore who were home that night.  The traditional Log Cabin block signifies the harmony in the home.  The centre square usually was red, for the hearth, the centre of the home. It seemed an appropriate block to use but in an un-traditional way.  The lives and homes of these families would never be the same.

It is the first in a series of three quilts I have made that commemorate those early years after the crash. We had not lived long in the community but we quickly became part of it.  We met some incredible people and became lifelong friends with two of the SwissAir families. My quilt Sea Change is meant to subtly illustrate the affect on the families in our community as well as the families of those who lost their lives.  I used the traditional “log cabin”  quilt block (which represents the home) but pieced it in a rather chaotic way to reflect the upheaval in so many lives. The circles represent the ocean, always changing and yet in a way comforting.


After Swissair by Budge Wilson 2016, Pottersfield Press. The book and my quilt! I was so honoured when Budge asked me if my quilt could be on the cover of her book of poetry. I was so honoured when Budge wrote the poem about Nancy's Quilt and included it in her book. Budge had been working on this book for a very long time, carefully and respectfully putting into words what so many felt that night and the days that followed.