The Cushion Project: Barachois Historic Church_Grand Barachois, New Brunswick,
By Emmy Maten
In the little coastal town of Grand Barachois in the Beaubasin East community of eastern New Brunswick stands the Barachois Historic Church, one of the last remaining wooden Acadian buildings. The Barachois Historic Church Preservation Committee was considering how to commemorate its bicentennial anniversary, and a photo taken from the second floor looking down on the pews below prompted an idea: create works-of-art cushions.
A call went out to rug-hooking artisans to create hooked cushions to be exhibited for the 6th edition of the World Acadian Congress, and then to permanently adorn the church pews.
Over the past two years, 242 cushions arrived, 223 from Canada including each of the provinces and Territories, 16 from the United States, 2 from the United Kingdom, and 1 from United Arab Emirates (Ti’s). The youngest artist was 14 years old and the eldest 90. One Nunavut artist’s cushion was a first-time hooking project.
|200 Cushions Exhibit Catalogue|
August 18, 2019 marked the opening of the 200 Cushions for my 200th exhibition. 5 members of our Guild were amongst the 120 contributing artists who attended this wonderful, heart-warming, and unifying event. The first 90 minute-period of the vernissage was limited to the artists, their guests and the organizing volunteers and provided time to view the cushion collection, exchange with others, and pose for official pictures. Then the doors were opened to the public, the church filled quickly to capacity and Rémi Levesque, the project’s creator, gave a touching interactive PowerPoint presentation to introduce the project to all those present. 1,005 visitors came to view the exhibit on opening day!
|Left to right: Dawna, Emmy, Candace, Claire, Ti.|
Some words from Rémi Levesque:
“…The collection… lives up to the volunteers’ community spirit and helping others, their creativity, and their energy to work towards a common goal. …Everyone had a reason to embark. That’s what created magic. Many artists paid tribute to their ancestors, a family member, Acadian friends, a colleague hooker, history, the art of hooking or just for the cause.”
The cushions have since travelled to Charlottetown for a showing from September 10 to 14, then returned home to the pews of the Barachois church.
An application was sent to the Guinness World Book of records, so that is a wait-and-see. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
It is an honour to have been part of this creative project.
|Kitt's cushion on the far left|
|From left to right: Claire's, Candace's, Manon's, Emmy's.|
Facebook - Eglise historique de Barachois
Francopresse - Mission accomplie pour Rémi Lévesque
The Barachois Hooked Cushion Collection