Wellness, Culture and Sport

Feature article No. 1 / Heritage Week 2010 (10/01/28)

NB 117

Jan. 28, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the first in a series of eight feature articles prepared for Heritage Week, Feb. 8 - 15. Entitled Spotlight on our Heritage, this series is a reflection upon the people, places and collections of New Brunswick's past. This article was prepared by the Heritage Branch, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport. For more information about Heritage Week activities throughout the province, visit the Heritage Week 2010 website.

About the Heritage Week 2010 poster

Quilts have always provided comfort, warmth and protection during the long, cold nights of winter. They also epitomize the handiwork, craftsmanship and dedication to detail characteristic of women's activities dating back to previous generations and continue to be cherished in many New Brunswick homes today. That's why the quilt featured on the 2010 Heritage Week poster is so appropriate.

This historic quilt, chosen as a background to express the Heritage Week 2010 theme, was crafted by Eliza Nase of Nerepis in Kings Co., between 1871 and the early 1900s. Superimposed on the quilt are images of people who have gathered in various types of groups, for many different reasons, during different periods of time. It's been 50 years since the late media philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase Global Village to describe how changing technology affects the way people gather to explore their world; and 40 years since the Internet allowed us to gather with others in cyberspace. But our social interactions persist as we continue to come together within our communities; in our schools, with our families, and in our workplaces. We commemorate the contributions made by our predecessors when we gather in public places to display appropriate acts of remembrance.

In the case of Nase, her artistic contributions are well worth commemorating, and her history parallels that of many in New Brunswick at the time. Born Eliza Stewart in Westfield in 1846, she was the daughter of Irish immigrants: David Stewart and Ann Jane McComb. Her parents had arrived aboard the brig Neptune in Saint John Harbour in May 1934.

In December 1871, only a few years after confederation, she married Frederick W. C. Nase, also from a Westfield family, but of Loyalist ancestry. The couple raised its family in nearby Nerepis. Two of their three children, Nettie and Philip, lived well into the middle of the 20th century but the youngest child, Harry, died at the age of five in 1886.

Twenty-first century New Brunswickers can attest to Nase's success as a quilt maker. Several articles that exhibit her craftsmanship, including five quilts and two woven overshot coverlets, have survived and can be found at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John. Nase died in 1925, aged 78, and was buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Westfield Parish.

Since the early 1920s, the New Brunswick Museum has been studying and acquiring quilts and now has hundreds of quilts and related blocks, tops, fragments, clamps, frames, stamps and miniature or toy quilts. The acquisition of the John Corey Domestic Textiles Collection in 2003 greatly enhanced the museum collection.

These forms of material history should also be viewed as folk art - practical and useful in recycling textile fragments while allowing the quiltmakers to express their artistic talents and decorative skills. Additional examples may be found in the New Brunswick Museum's Virtual Exhibition.

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MEDIA CONTACTS: Elizabeth Joubert, communications, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-457-6445; Cynthia Wallace-Casey, Heritage Branch, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-476-1905.

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