Today I want to share a great story about one of our long time clients....
Imagine for a moment, the courage it takes to pack a suitcase and move to the other side of the world. Now, imagine you don’t know a soul where you’re going. Fifty years ago, in late 1970, Renske Helmuth set out on such a journey. As a young woman, she packed her bags, left the flowers of Holland behind, and set out for a new adventure in Canada.
After arriving in Canada, Renske spent the first year working various jobs and experiencing Canada. Eventually settling in Moorefield, Ontario after landing a job at a Midwestern Regional Center in Palmerston. Sometime after the first year, she was on the move again, this time to Toronto where she earned a teaching certificate. With teaching certificate in hand, it was back to Moorefield to teach and then after a few years raise a family and farm.
During her time in Holland, Renske had been introduced to needlework arts, knitting, crocheting, and sewing. It was part of her school curriculum. As fate would have it, her mother-in-law was also into quilting. When she married, Renske continued to learn about quilting from her mother-in-law. She has now been quilting on a grand scale for almost 30 years. Her mastery in the activity can be seen in her beautiful, hand-crafted quilts. Renske’s ability to create art with just material is remarkable. As a testament to her skill, one her quilts (done as a collaborative effort) sold for $44,000 at a charity auction. For this quilt, Renske collected 40 different fabrics from 40 different countries. With help sewing from a group of like-minded volunteers Renske and team created the amazing quilt (pictured below) known as “Kaleidoscope of Nations” for the Mennonite Relief Sale in New Hamburg. Since her first donation in 1999, Renske has been donating quilts (9 in total) for MCC Canada fundraisers every 3 -4 years.
On September 9th I was invited to see her quilts firsthand at a charity show held at the Helmuth Farm. The funds raised were for the Canadian Food Grain Bank. She donated 4 quilts for a silent auction and help raised $16,000 for the charity.
Here are just a few of Renske’s quilts:
Kaleidoscope of Nations
"I used the selvages of Japanese fabrics and some vintage fabrics I got in Japan. Machine quilted by Sharon Fisher"
Tree of Life
"This one is made in the Jacobean style. Hand applique, machine quilted"
Flowers in the wall
"With this technique I chopped up the fabric in tiny pieces and used those pieces as my "paint". Machine quilted."