Published on Apr 12, 2021

Le Point Visible: The Art of Quilting, the Modern Way

Geometrical shapes, bright block colours, eco-responsible recycling, Marilyn B. Armand is restoring this artisanal know-how’s proud heritage. Her creations, bed covers, throws, cuddle blankets, placemats, produced in her workshop, in Bedford, are as comforting as they are pleasing to the eye.

By Natalie Sicard

Raised by her aunts and grandmother who initiated her to the basics of sewing, this future artist quilter grew up hoping to launch her own textile business. But what form would it take? What would be her medium? When she moved away from the Plateau Mont-Royal 5 years ago, after completing a master’s degree in International Relations, and leaving behind a job in business management to settle in Dunham, it clicked! That’s when she picked up the threads.

While looking for a gift to concoct for a newborn, she found this pattern for sewing a quilted cuddle blanket on the Internet. Perfect! this true fan of DIY projects had already tried to create everything possible in the field of textile arts in her free time (weaving, macramé). Suddenly, she felt very stimulated. Then came her meeting with France Verrier of the Cercle des fermières de Cowansville, an experienced quilter who would become her mentor and who taught her all the basic techniques. That was it! She had found her medium. After months of training, she established her workshop inside the Bedford Lofts, an old factory that used to produce needles … for knitting machines!

The walls of her workshop are covered with colourful rolls of material, and batting, corduroy, velour, wool … 95% of these materials are new. Concerned about the enormous quantity of waste produced by the textile industry, she retrieves trimmings and leftover materials from clothes designers or end of lines. “Rolls of 4–5 metres that won’t ever be used! This doesn’t make sense. To give this forgotten material a second life before they’re sent to the trash bin is the modus operandi that sustains my business.” Through her upcycling approach, she improves the sustainability of textiles, by sewing and topstitching them. In fact, her quilts now have lifespans that will last over several decades.

It takes her more than 25 hours to produce each, very unique, piece telling with its own story. She finds her inspiration contemplating the surrounding architecture and environment. “I just have to step outside to feed my chickens, as I admire the fields all around, and I’m inspired!” One of her models evokes the memory of an evening while on a canoe camping trip; “The water was like a mirror. We could see the moon and stars reflecting on it. Such tranquility in the middle of nowhere!” The simple shapes, the clean lines, her play on perspectives are born from her imagination. Sometimes fragments of stories inspired by a picture, an illustration given by a client are the starting point for her custom-made creations. The results offer these minimalist compositions that you can’t wait to hang on a wall!

Hoping to perpetuate and spread this skill passed on by several generations of women, she also offers kits to make your own design on her website. And very soon, you’ll be able to pre-order a creation by selecting colours, shapes and the materials from 12 basic models.

For more information:

Her Address Book

  • Chouquette et Amandine on Bedford’s Main Street: to savour a croissant or a dessert. This artisanal bakery-pastry shop concocts pies, Viennese pastries, brioches, different breads, sandwiches and salads.

  • Brasserie Dunham : While awaiting the reopening of their pub, people have literally been raiding their classic beer series as well as their latest boutique creations (open 7/7 from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.). The reason is simple, their brand has taken 42nd place among the world’s best breweries in 2020 on the prestigious Ratebeer website!

  • A bicycle outing in the town of Saint-Armand: “You can take any road, they’re all lovely.” The Circuit La doyenne des vignes takes you through the towns of Frelighsburg and Dunham; and the Circuit du Patrimoine starts out in Bedford to lead you across the villages of Saint-Armand, Pigeon Hill and the pretty hamlet of Mystic.

  • The Backbone climbing centre in Bromont: to climb, or to relax in their café, to enjoy a drink or a light lunch, to “chill” and hangout with friends.

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