Meet the 84-year-old who is Canada’s quilter to the stars
Famous musicians like the Dave Matthews Band and Randy Bachman have received her work but it’s not likely you’ll know her — or what she does.
Moncton’s Barbara Elias, 84, is likely the most rocking quilter to have ever sewn a stitch.
“I am building memories,” said Elias, who has crafted quilts for some of the world’s most famous music moguls.
Decades before she sewed her first quilt out of old t-shirts, Elias spent much of her life rubbing elbows with music legends like Rush or Marie Osmond due to her former husband, Al Elias, a record producer who worked with Polygram records.
The Bee Gees even spent the night at her home north of Toronto.
Old snapshots propped up in Elias’ quilting room in Moncton reveal pictures of her posing with artists like Ann Murray, Tony Bennett, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and a young Gordon Lightfoot.
It’s those connections with the music industry that paved the way for her to become a quilter to the music stars.
Elias has made quilts for new stars and for artists in the twilight of their careers, like country artist Kenny Rogers and Randy Bachman from Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
“He has a lot of kids and over the years I made quilts for his kids,” she said.
She also crafts quilts for modern-day artists whose names she can’t reveal. Newer artists are very secretive and she signs confidentiality agreements before taking on their projects.
She says everyone who she makes quilts for are people; each with a personal story that she tries to tell through her quilts.
Elias says still has plenty of sewing time left in her old hands and plenty of artists that she’d like to help build memories for.
“Gordie from the Tragically hip, I would like to have made one for him,” she said.