Prisoners love quilting
The women of Arohata Women’s Prison have been bitten by the quilting bug.
Members of the Wellington Quilters Guild teach them patchwork and quilting every Saturday.
June Nixey, a founding member of the guild, began the voluntary visits with three other members in 1993.
Ms Nixey said the classes were only supposed to last six weeks.
‘‘[But] after two or three weeks, we thought, ‘ We can’t just walk away from this’.’’
Since January 1994, volunteer quilters have gone to the prison every week.
Ms Nixey said the prison officers were in full support of them, even asking them to teach another class in the Drug Treatment Unit.
She said they were allowed to teach only in the low-security part of the prison, for safety reasons.
‘‘I have a radio, but I have never, ever felt threatened and I think if I did I wouldn’t go in there.’’
She said they had received some lovely letters from the women they had taught.
‘‘They get a chance to make something for their children, for their part- ners, for somebody who is looking after their children.
Ms Nixey said the women made some amazing quilts and keep albums of all their work.
Wellington Quilters Guild also supports the community by donating quilts to the Wellington Women’s Refuge and Te Whare Rokiroki Maori Women’s Refuge.
They also donate small quilts, used as knee rugs, to Wellington City Mission.
Wellington Quilters Guild is holding an exhibition at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Gallery from September 27 to October 28.