Throughout her home, there is ample evidence of her many artistic skills, with many combining those skills to create a work of art. Many of her quilts have embroidery stitched in the squares before quilting is undertaken. Loretta is shown with one such square on a quilt. Thompson Goddard Photo
NORTH DUNDAS – For those who have been at local craft shows, the booth of North Dundas resident Loretta Chambers has been a popular stop with the paintings, crocheting, knitting and quilting products available for sale. The items at the local craft shows are just a fraction of the items created by this extremely talented woman.
Loretta was born in 1931 near Cannamore, the daughter of Alex and Annie Byers and attended Morewood High School and worked at the Bank of Canada for four years before marrying Basil Chambers in 1952. For many years she and her husband lived on the farm near the “curve on the Berwick Road” at the Dundas-Stormont County border. She and Basil raised their nine children on the farm, with Loretta mentioning this land has been farmed by members of the Chambers family for over 100 years. For several years, she has conducted genealogical research and has compiled a significant amount of information and records on the Chambers and Byers’ families.
She worked for several years as a secretary at St. Bernard’s in Finch as well as St. Mary’s in Chesterville and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Ingleside. During her career as a school secretary, she took calligraphy classes from Mrs. Virginia Ferguson at night school and for years used her calligraphy skills on school certificates. She mentioned how she has always enjoyed developing new skills and increasing her knowledge, mentioning she began painting in the early 1980s.
Several paintings adorn her home, with her utilizing items such as milk cans, different types of saws as well as canvas’ for her works of art. When asked, she explained that she draws inspiration from nature or photos she has seen and enjoys painting objects which she comes across or is given for custom work. She mentioned family members have received her creative work such as paintings and quilts as well as knitted or crocheted items as gifts and after taking an extensive course in cake decorating was busy decorating cakes for family members.
Throughout her home are several quilts she has created over the years. Upon examining the quilts closely, Loretta’s incredible quilting/sewing talent is seen with the stitches evenly spaced and “short” in length. When asked whether she machine or hand quilted, she replied how all her quilting is done by hand. Several of the quilts have embroidered squares, with Loretta showing one which has the central motifs hand-embroidered by her mother before it was quilted.
Over the years, Loretta has entered several quilt competitions in local fairs including the Chesterville and Russell fairs where she won prizes. Two years ago, at the Metcalfe Fair, her quilt won first place and was entered in the district 1 quilt competition and won third place. She mentioned in passing how that same year she had made wine, “so I thought I would enter that area and I won first prize for my white wine.” As if painting and quilting were not enough, Loretta is also busy doing needlework, creating Afghans and making dollies, potholders and other small items from crochet cotton.
Loretta finds all this creative activity to be relaxing and rewarding, commenting when working on an artistic project, “you don’t count the hours” spent in creating a work of art in any medium.”
Carolyn Thompson Goddard, grew up in Chesterville and attended North Dundas District High School. After completing her BA in Political Science at Carleton University she has worked as a medical secretary and library technician. In 2020 she graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Journalism and has been a reporter and column writer for The Chesterville Record for over 10 years.