Early in September 2015, two women where killed by intimate partners in shockingly brutal circumstances. Tara Brown and Katrina Locke, both mothers, died at the hands of men who were “supposed” to love them. Their deaths, in the 35th week of 2015, brought the death toll in Australia to 62 – almost 2 women every week were being killed by men in domestic violence situations.
I remember being so upset, so devastated and so helpless at the loss of these women. And angry too – angry that our country wasn’t doing so much more to stop the crisis of men’s violence against women and children. I was compelled to do something, and as a quilter, I turned to the one thing I knew that could bring comfort – quilt making.
I turned to the community of quilters and crafters I am involved with on Instagram and Facebook and asked for some help to make Tic Tac Toe quilt blocks. I had hoped for enough to make a quilt to donate to a domestic violence refuge here in Victoria. What I received was over 650 quilt blocks, more than 50 completed quilts, the generosity of quilters the world over, donated fabric, batting, and longarm quilting services from some of the best quilting and fabric businesses across Australia.
The #quiltblockstohealviolence project over on Instagram brought together women from all over the world who were just as upset and angry as I was. And together we have been able to bring comfort and handmade love to over 100 women and kids.
In 2017, I am joining with Josephine of Very Snuggly Quilts to host charity quilt making workshops in Yarraville – check out the Facebook page for details and to get involved.
I hope you will join with us to continue to bring to women and children escaping violence the kind of love and support that only a quilt can bring. If you’d like to get involved, check out the How to Donate page in the links above. Thanks
(ps. Jackie Gillies is a quilter, a feminist, a business owner and a wife and best friend to a spunky fireman, and a mum to two gorgeous boys – not to be confused with the Real Housewife of Melbourne! You can find her on Instagram @jackiegillies and as the 1/3 brainchild for @modernmakersretreat)