SAQA Benefit Auction Stories—Maggie Vanderweit

We always love hearing about how our members are inspired to create their piece for our annual Benefit Auction. Maggie Vanderweit shared her story with us.

If your SAQA Benefit Auction Quilt has a good story, please send it to

Maggie’s Story

“Let’s Talk” is part of a new series called “Room at the Table” which, using the chair as a repeated icon, celebrates a few concepts, like Canada’s policy of inclusion. My parents as Dutch immigrants after WWII blended with others from around the world and our own First Nations people to make Canada the culturally diverse, clement nation it generally is.

When there is a chair at the table for you, you belong. And I just realized that as head of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2020 Conference in Toronto I am actually a chair too! Huh! Hadn’t even thought of that!

Where there are four chairs, there is room for friends too. “Let’s Talk” is a tribute to the way SAQA warmly welcomes all members. Really, for me, the chair icon represents sharing, loving and acceptance on many levels.

Many artists get ordinary objects and symbols, like circles, trees or birds to stand in for their thoughts and feelings. The stories we tell with our icons can be prosaic, intimate, global, cosmic, spiritual. In his famous “Bedroom in Arles” series, Van Gogh’s simple furniture and rooms tell complex stories.

In our dining room are the chairs my father, Ike Vanderweit, salvaged from the prison where he taught house painting and sign making, plus the old pine table he found rotting outside a church yard. Starting when I was young, he refinished them for me over time to have for my own “one day” home. Here is where we welcome family and friends, feast and celebrate life’s milestones. So, let’s talk!

Created with ink, commercial and eco-dyed cloth. Machine pieced and quilted.


About Maggie

Maggie is the Central Canada Regional Rep. She is also on the Chair of the Toronto Steering Committee that is planning SAQA ’s first international conference in 2020 in Toronto, Canada. You can learn more about Maggie and her work by visiting her website.

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