Who should I see featured in the newspaper today but June Nixey, a member of my previous quilt guild, Pinestream Quilters. June has been a leading light with teaching patchwork and quilting to the inmates of Arohata Women’s Prison since 1993. Together with her trusty band of helpers, these ladies volunteer their time and skills every Saturday morning to the Shut-in Stitchers. The three local quilt clubs help out with donations of fabric, which is held in storage off site. Initially the course was to run for six weeks, but the response was so positive they decided to continue with it.
June proudly brought some of the finished quilts along for Show and Tell occasionally on club nights. She always remained quite elusive and liked to hide behind the quilts as they were being shown, so I never managed to snap a photo of her at all. But here are three made by the Shut In Quilters, brought along to show the club some time ago. June also writes a quilt blog, Junez Scrapz – do check it out.
June and her helpers were presented with a Highly Commended certificate at Parliament last night, part of the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award 2013, for sharing its quilting skills over 20 years with women in Arohata Prison. As well as learning sewing skills, the course leads to increased self esteem and empowerment, and a great sense of achievement. Good on you June, it is wonderful that you and your helpers have been recognised with this award.