June 25, 2021

How has COVID-19 affected your life? That is what Brenda Reid and her project “From Behind the Mask” is asking Waterloo Region. Beginning in October 2020, the project is a quilt created by the community, expressing each individual’s experiences throughout the pandemic.

Reid, a graduate from the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate architecture program, began the project during the pandemic and has currently received over 400 quilt blocks to build and expand the piece.

The project invites everyone of all ages, backgrounds and situations to participate and share their story. Many who have been displaced from the area due to the pandemic are also contributing, and are encouraged to do so.

According to the project website: “We’re making space for pain, resilience and care within our community.” As each person has been affected differently by COVID-19, the project aims to make a representation of the struggles, highs and lows and create a place for people to begin to heal and see that they were not alone throughout this difficult time.

Participants in the project are not required to know how to sew, and are encouraged to learn and use whatever skills are available to them. “You can paint, glue, use pencil crayon – get creative,” the project website details. However, the project is limited to one quilt block per person in order to gain as much insight from the community as possible.

Reid, the project coordinator, has been hard at work to provide as much help as possible to the community in completing this project. Alongside detailed instructions on the project website, she also hosted a free virtual workshop at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener and has created videos to guide eager participants through the process of crafting one of these quilt blocks.

The deadline to submit a quilt block is Apr. 30, 2021, and currently requests are closed for kits as this date is quickly approaching. Once the quilt is completed, it is set to be displayed at the Homer Watson House and Gallery in Kitchener, Ont. The exhibition is set to begin on May 21, 2021.

For more information on the project and for further developments, go to: https://frombehindthemask-quilt.com/

You can also find the project on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frombehindthemask_quilt/ 

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