News Release

Métis Latter-day Saint Grandmother Creates Canadian Unity With Her Textile Artistry

Linda Shaver Angus, an accomplished Canadian artist and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Abbotsford, British Columbia, has recently completed her “Canadian Unity” quilt top. She considers this piece to be her highest artistic achievement over a lifetime spent working with fabrics. This intricate piece is truly a masterpiece, the brilliant essence of all Angus’ imaginative work.

“So much of this quilt was created through inspiration,” Angus said. “When I researched for each block, I would ... wait for the divine confirmation. ... Sometimes inspirations came to me as I slept. I let these insights guide my creative processes.”

Angus is a member of the Métis Nation. Her roots are set deep in the Red River Settlement, including what is now Winnipeg, plus an 80-kilometre radius of land surrounding it, in southern Manitoba.

Although the “Canadian Unity” quilt top took her 22 years to sew, Angus felt motivated, even driven, to finish it once she started. She felt encouraged by scripture. Angus asserts her faith in Jesus Christ helped her complete this enormous piece of textile artistry, and she attributes her healthy state of mind, spirit and being to quilting and beadworking.

Angus has built an implicit invitation to unity into her quilt, trusting that those who “look and see” will help build connections. She eloquently describes the thousands of incandescent glass seed beads covering the quilt top as symbols of both Canada’s expansive land and the people. Angus intended the quilt to be — and it is — beautiful, significant, compelling and completing. She plans that, when the quilt top is backed and finished, it can be displayed and toured.

“It might bring feelings of unity and love to those who see it. I feel that this quilt has never been for me,” she said. “It’s for Canada, and it’s meant to show the love of all Canadians for our land.” She intends that a written booklet, with detailed descriptions and pictures in colour, will accompany the quilt on its tour. Her words continue, speaking of her gratitude for close family, who are wonderfully supportive of her quilting.

The quilt top measures 10 feet wide and 13 feet, six inches long. Each Canadian province and territory has its own quilt block. Angus marshalled all the provincial blocks around a central block representing the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. (Find the full series of close-up pictures showing full details and taken by photographer Joanne Coleman at Umbrella Tree Photography.)

As a highly advanced quilter, Angus has created beautiful embellishments overlaying the quilt top. Each individual applique is hand-cut, hand-stitched, raised, puffed and embellished with beads. The appliques are icons familiar to and evocative of every Canadian. Potatoes and lighthouses for Prince Edward Island. Wheat fields and bison for the Prairies. The rocky Canadian Shield for Ontario and Quebec. All sorts of living things — sea creatures, polar bears, moose, beavers. Trees. Totem poles. The aurora borealis. The maple leaf. Intertwined are images representing the Indigenous peoples in Canada — the First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis.

Angus calculates it took more than 100,000 hours to research and design the quilt top’s complex elements, and to sew, hand-stitch and bead them. All this took a herculean effort on her part and help from seven good friends in her local quilters’ guild, who contributed their time and efforts on occasion.

A quilt is traditionally composed of three layers of textiles. The final step is to install a fabric backing and bond the separate layers with strong stitches — ladder stitch, blanket stitch and other embroidery stitches. With her quilt top layered and backed, Angus’ work will be “Canadian Unity”–finished.

Quilting has remained a strong tradition in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for over 150 years, perhaps because the word “quilt” invokes nostalgic thoughts and feelings of security, warmth, comfort and family togetherness. The quilt Angus has created is emblematic of all these and, of course, unity.

Church leaders instruct us that, as followers of Christ, we must seek unity always and especially in challenging times. In the October 2020 general conference of the Church, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles remarked, “Unity and diversity are not opposites. We can achieve greater unity as we foster an atmosphere of inclusion and respect for diversity” (“Hearts Knit in Righteousness and Unity”).

We all have our own unique talents, abilities and resources. What can we do individually that might bring us closer to the important goal of achieving Canadian unity?

Contributed by Karen Pruden Shirley, Canada Communication Channels Co-ordinator

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