The Burra Quilters have 24 members and between them have put together this wonderful exhibition of 50 articles. Their membership range in age from 10 to nearly 80. The youngest member Stella won first prize in last year’s Festival of Quilts in Adelaide. It is these precious young people we have to nurture.
From hand piecing and hand quilting to intricate appliqué to machine piecing and machine appliqué, this exhibition has it all. Often the country groups are at a disadvantage due to getting teachers to travel and all the extra costs involved, but the calibre of the quilts are first class. We would love to see some of the quilts in our big Adelaide Exhibition in November.
As a quilt teacher, and an Ambassador and honorary life member of Bedford Phoenix, I have a very special interest in the display of 15 Bedford mystery quilts. In 2012 and 2014, I came to Clare and then Burra with my band of helpers to teach the Bedford mystery. It is great to see so many finished in time for the exhibition. When Sharon approached me to come to Burra to teach the Mystery in 2014, I told her it was an opportunity to good to turn down as all the country ladies were great cooks. When it was morning tea time the tables were laden with good old fashioned cooking and we counted 21 different plates of delicious food all for about 25 people. It was well worth coming to Burra.
Bedford Phoenix is the second largest Australian Disability Enterprise in Australia, providing employment, training, day options and accommodation services for people with disability across South Australia as well as in Silverwater, NSW. Our diverse businesses employ some 1400 people with disability in packaging services, horticulture, furniture, timber processing, administration, hospitality and cleaning. We offer services in 17 locations across the state, including seven regional locations from Port Lincoln to Mount Gambier.
We also meet the higher support needs of people with disability and their families in four Day Options facilities across the state; provide supported accommodation services to over 100 South Australians with disability and offer a Nationally Accredited and innovative training program to hundreds of internal and external students and employees. Bedford Phoenix are proud to meet the diverse, individual and evolving needs of people with disability in our community and believe we are in a strong position to face the changing disability scene under the NDIS.
Our family has used many of Bedford Phoenix services. You see my husband Kym and I have twins, a son Clinton and a daughter Lauren. They are now 29. Lauren was born with an intellectual disability. Lauren’s early years were filled with many appointments and she attended a special school. We assumed she wouldn’t have the same opportunities as her brother Clinton. How wrong we were…
In Lauren’s last year of school she took part in Bedford’s work experience program and has been there ever since. She had a full time job was happy working with lots of new friends. Lauren has graduated in Cert 2 in business through the Abilities for all program. In 2008 she won the Heart and Soul award. It is a perpetual award that goes to a member of the Bedford Phoenix family every year that epitomises Bedford Phoenix core values. From packaging to cleaning Lauren has gained many skills. That’s what we love about Bedford Phoenix, there are so many areas she can be involved in. Five years ago Lauren moved into her own place through Bedford Phoenix Community based housing. She is now independent and loves her little house.
Lauren has achieved so much in her time there and we are so proud of her. Bedford Phoenix has not only embraced Lauren; but our entire family. Bedford Phoenix has given so much to us and I wanted to find a way to give something back. There was no better way to do this than through my passion – quilting. Patchwork and quilting have been a saviour in my life, I have been fortunate to teach in many places and meet many wonderful people, many who are lifelong friends.
The Mystery Quilt Challenge was an opportunity for anyone from beginner to expert to make their own quilt where they didn’t know what the final product looks like until the very end. All the fabric was cut , ready to sew and page by page instructions were given.
The Mystery Quilt Challenge has taken on a life of its own since it began in 2008. In its first year we raised over $16,000. This figure more than doubled in 2010 bringing in over $39,000. Then in 2012 Bedford Phoenix received over $75,000 – changing more lives than you could ever imagine. In 2014 it was the final year for the Mystery Quilt Challenge and we went out with a bang by raising over $103,000 for Bedford. We have cut over 3000 kits, all from fabric that has been donated . I do still have a few kits left although it will no longer be a mystery. The total raised over eight years was over $235,000.
Quilters are very generous people, helping out whenever and where ever they can, so thank you to everyone who has supported our cause.
As a family we are privileged to be part of the Bedford Phoenix family. Bedford Phoenix has allowed Lauren and us in turn to live normal lives. Thank you for listening to our story.
To quilt is divine, to finish…… is a miracle.
Faye Packham – Burra Quilters Opening Speech