Quilt of Belonging: The Invitation Project


296 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55046-435-3
DDC 746.46'0971




Photos by Donna Griffith
Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Bryan, an artist living in Eastern Ontario, initiated a huge
collaborative work of textile art for the purpose of communicating and
sharing the diverse cultural heritage and values present in Canadian
society today. The resulting wall hanging (“quilt”) took six years
to complete and involved massive amounts of research and the work of
hundreds of volunteer craft workers/artists, office workers,
researchers, photographers, and fundraisers.

The work is 120 feet long and 10 feet high. It is “pieced” like a
quilt, with 263 squares. Seventy-one Aboriginal groups (First Nations,
Inuit, Metis) and 192 immigrant nationalities each contributed a square
designed to reflect their cultural values. This means every nationality
present in Canada today is represented in the project. The book consists
of a description of the origin and purpose of the project and a profile
of each square. The profiles, a full page each, include a colour photo
of the square, information on the artist, an explanation of the
symbolism and design, and notes on the materials used.

The techniques involved in the various squares cover the full range of
textile art—weaving, lacemaking, embroidery, beadwork, appliqué, etc.
Materials include a wide range of fabrics, leather, buttons, shells, and

The book is nicely organized and attractively designed. The writing
style is informal, with leanings toward a rose-coloured-glasses
perspective. The pictures are excellent and are reproduced large enough
to make possible appreciation of every detail of every square. Although
the profiles of the quilt squares are not in alphabetical order, the
index makes it easy to locate the square for any country or First

As a guide to a significant, innovative, collaborative work of art, the
book will be enjoyed by textile artists, quilters, and social



Bryan, Esther, et al., “Quilt of Belonging: The Invitation Project,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16142.