Sewing Circle with Camilla Blinn

It’s a Thursday afternoon at Atelier de Clare. A group of four ladies are sitting around a table, drinking coffee, sharing photos and laughing. When they’re ready, they get out some fabrics and contemplate what to work on next.

For almost two years, volunteer Camilla Blinn has been coming twice a week to Atelier de Clare to lead a sewing group. A member of the local quilters guild, teaching sewing seemed like a natural fit, combining her love of sewing with her desire to volunteer in the community.

“I always had this place in mind that I wanted to come,” Camilla explains. “I came the first day and it was great. I loved it. I just loved it.”

Since joining the group, the participants have surprised themselves with what they’ve been able to accomplish. From the very beginning, the group set out to make a quilt, and they succeeded. Since then, they have made a number of other products, some for themselves and some to sell at Atelier.

“I used to be terrified of the sewing machine until she (Camilla) showed up,” says Michelle Dugas. “She’s an awesome person. She taught us so much stuff.”

“I learned how to sew properly,” adds Nancy Hodge. “I got to know her and she teaches me a lot.”

Camilla says the experience of volunteering at Atelier has been life changing and encourages others to spend time here, even if it’s just for a visit.

“I think the love that comes for them (the participants) is amazing,” she says. “I feel very committed to this… It’s changed me in the sense that I have such a purpose.”