Craft – The Nell Anne Quilt Project

The McCahon House in collaboration with artist Nell have created a quilt project.

Everyone is welcome to participate – from first-time sewers to experienced needle workers, to contribute an embroidered piece of fabric to one of two ‘crazy quilts’. Nell invites you to decorate a piece of fabric with the name of a woman who has had meaning in your life.

I was inspired to take part in such a warm and collaborative project. My entry was ‘Aunty Juanita’.

Aunty Juanita is a fictional character, connected by my mother and aunty, as the more flamboyant and fabulous partner of Santa Claus. They decided that Mrs Clause was a tad drab, and no sort of role model for young women, so they created their own.

She was a feminist, artistic and chic, and full of wisdom about self care, accesorising and personal hygiene. she made quite the impression on my young mind, far more interesting than Santa himself.


Looking back the memories are all the fonder thinking of my mum and aunt, staying up late on Christmas Eve and brewing such a woman for us to aspire to. she may be a fabrication but she is the warmth, humour and love of them both, and she represents the inspirational women in my family.


The patches from women all over NZ, and beyond will be quilted together forming a patchwork of many women’s names in homage to women’s creativity and craft, work and labour. One will be decorated with the name ANNE, after Anne McCahon (nee Hamblett), and the other with the artist’s name – NELL, acknowledging where the particularities of Anne & Nell’s individual stories interchange with a collective female history.


For more info on the project and it’s progress head to the McCahon website.





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