QUILTING: Wilga Bolton with her work featured in the LCACA Jubilee Exhibition.
QUILTING: Wilga Bolton with her work featured in the LCACA Jubilee Exhibition. Adam Hourigan

Wilga is the queen of quilts

PATCHWORK is often used as analogy for our lives, the patches representing the various components of our experiences which, when stitched together, form who we are.

Of course when you apply this to Wilga Bolton's you also have to take that very literally.

Wilga has spent a great deal of her life designing and creating patchwork quilts, and could be described as an institution in the field given her contribution to the craft over a 35-year period.

The 83-year-old started the Maclean Patchwork Quilters, a busy interest group that has been meeting weekly on Tuesdays for a stitch and a chat since 1989 when its home was the Anglican Church Hall.

These days members congregate at the Uniting Church Hall where the group has flourished, maintaining a healthy membership that stands at 38 today.

Wilga said she first started quilting after her other hobby loaned itself to a new avenue of crafting.

"I had a stash of fabric scraps from dressmaking so I though I'd put those to good use. That was 35 years ago and I've been making quilts ever since."

Wilga said when she first started out there wasn't a lot of quilting going on in Maclean back when she picked up the activity.

"It wasn't a well-known craft when I started out. There were no quilt shops so you had to get our fabrics from Mackellys or Gerards.

"It's grown in popularity so much it has surprised me. It's huge in Australia now."

Wilga has made a lot of quilts over the years where you can spend anywhere from 18 months to two years on an intricate design.

Understandably, the life member of the patchwork group she founded has also collected countless ribbons and awards for her impressive creations - her latest accolade taking out Supreme Champion at the recent Maclean Show.

And while Wilga has wound back teaching the art of quilting, "I retired from tutoring workshops at Christmas", she won't be putting the needle and scissors down any time soon.

"I'll keep quilting as long as I can. I'm currently working on a friendship quilt so it's ready for another exhibition in July."

You can see Wilga Bolton's handiwork as part of the Lower Clarence Arts & Crafts jubilee exhibition at the Grafton Regional Gallery until July 2.

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