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Sunflowers for Ukraine this Friday

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Sarah Curtis
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OLLI
Quilters from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute pose with their sunflowers for Ukraine.

A dozen quilters are donating their work of Ukrainian sunflowers to raise money for emergency food in Ukraine. The exhibit is the First Friday event at Well Street Gallery on January 6th.

Quilter Lindy Kinn says she was inspired by a pattern of a sunflower square that the designer, Emily Taylor, was using for fundraising.

“She offered the pattern, then a hundred percent of the proceeds went to aid Ukraine. It was a sunflower pattern, and I was inspired by that to carry it a little further on,” Kinn said.

Lindy Kinn got with another quilting instructor, Robin Benjamin, and the two of them coordinated a class with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. They used a technique called “collage quilting” in which visuals are built up with several pieces of cloth stitched or fused together to make one color.

“Most of them started off with Emily's pattern, but they all looked different because everybody put their own special twist on it,” Kinn said.

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Sarah Curtis
/
OLLI
Sunflower squares are ready for exhibit and sale to raise money for food aid.

The class met through October and November and worked up the colorful sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine. Kinn said recently it has become a symbol of solidarity and resistance against the country's invasion by Russian forces.

Kinn said she had two objectives for the class: to have the students to display their works in a formal show as accomplished artists, and she also wanted to give them a way to help with the war in Ukraine.

“I encouraged the participants to put their sunflower on a field of blue to represent the Ukrainian flag,” Kinn said.

Each student made one or two yellow and blue 14-inch squares. Kinn selected World Central Kitchen as a charity to receive the money.

“Trying to find a place that we could send it to that I knew was reputable and had a history of doing good things with the money they received,” Kinn said.

They providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises.

Benjamin said the class was a creative way that artists could regain a sense of agency when feeling helpless about the war.

“You know, everybody can do something. You don't have to feel like you see these terrible things going on in the world and you don't feel like you can do anything about it. But really there are lots and lots of different ways that you can even make a small contribution. It all adds up” Benjamin said.

Benjamin says the quilters worked up almost 20 squares to donate for sale. She took them last week to Well Street Gallery in Fairbanks. They plan to ask $85 for each sunflower.

“I mean, we were thrilled that, you know, everyone in the class was able to produce and finalize their project, then made a donation. They worked hard,” Benjamin said.

Gallery owner David Mollet, is donating labor and processing for the First Friday event so all the money from the quilt sales can be donated.

Robyne began her career in public media news at KUAC, coiling cables in the TV studio and loading reel-to-reel tape machines for the radio station.