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Community Art Quilt: a Celebration of Collaboration

Photo by Lisa Carolin. The community art quilt on display at the Chelsea District Library that was unveiled Saturday in honor of Trihn Pifer.

By Lisa Carolin

A celebration of collaboration took place Saturday, Nov. 19, when a Community Art Quilt was unveiled at the Chelsea District Library in honor of Trihn Pifer, the former executive director of the Chelsea Senior Center, who died in 2021.

More than 100 quilt squares were sewn by people of all ages from around the Chelsea community and donated to the C.A.A.D.Y. Corner Quilters, who meet at the Chelsea Senior Center, and Matt Jensen, the library’s technology specialist.

The 10-by-9 foot quilt now hangs on the wall by the library’s staircase and includes the names of all the contributors as well as a photo of Pifer, whose dedication to the Chelsea community inspired the idea. Her husband Dan Pifer attended the unveiling of the quilt along with Charlotte Wyche, a member of the C.A.A.D.Y. Corner Quilters who with the help of Lori Coryell, director of the library, helped to make the quilt a reality.

“Trinh had a gift of bringing people together,” said Coryell. “We were fortunate to have a committed partnership with the C.A.A.D.Y. Corner Quilters, and the entire library staff really embraced this idea.”

Wyche, who calls Pifer a “spirited, wonderful soul,” said the response from the public was enthusiastic right from the start.

“After some finished squares started coming in, playing with layouts and planning with C.A.A.D.Y, Corner Quilter members on Tuesdays at the Senior Center helped clarify that we would place the blocks ‘on point’ rather than simply as squares in a line,” said Wyche. “I then made a schematic of the layout plan we decided on as a guide to assemble the blocks in sections as they came in.

Wyche and Coryell knew the quilt would hang in the library stairwell.

“The library is a gathering place in our community,” said Coryell. “In an era where many feel division and isolation, a public library is a safe and welcoming place for all. From kids who find a space to hang out after school, to seniors who gather around the fireplace upstairs, to the young adult working on a degree or a career change, to our volunteers getting books ready for the Friends Used Book Sale, anyone can find a home at the library. The quilt, with its array of colors, and range of participants who helped create it, is a perfect visual demonstration of this value.”

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