The Community Embroidery Project, ongoing through the run of the Handmade Meaning exhibition, is an opportunity for visitors to put their own spin on a traditional craft. The project is inspired by the quilts women made for community fundraisers during the late 1800s and early 1900s. During the Victorian era, community members and/or local businesses would sponsor a quilt square, purchase a square, and/or embroider a square to be included in a simple patchwork quilt.  Often the quilt was then auctioned or raffled off and the funds were donated to a local cause.  Depending on the guidelines of a particular fundraiser, participants had select designs to use for their square.  Examples of themes or imagery used include: business logos, floral motifs, embroidered signatures of supporters, stock imagery found in magazines and catalogs, etc.

The Handmade Meaning embroidery project is an opportunity for avid DIY crafters and those with limited crafting experience to come together for a contemporary community effort.  What better way to gain understanding of what a hands-on craft activity has to offer!  Visitors to the exhibit, as well as followers of this blog, will get to follow the progress of the squares come together to make a quilt.

We encourage anyone from the community, no matter what their skill level, to participate by picking up a packet from the Watrous Gallery or Stitcher’s Crossing, stitching a design, and returning it to the gallery during the exhibition.

We are also seeking people with sewing/quilting experience to help assemble the quilts (all fabric, batting, etc. would be provided – we even have space for you to work!)  If you are interested in helping with this task, please contact the gallery by phone at 608.265.2500 or email Andrea at

You can follow the progress of the Community Embroidery Project here.