Material Girls' quilts splash color over the main room of the renovated Retreat Center.
Photos by Jennifer Kronholm Clark
by Jennifer Kronholm Clark
SHARON (10/09/2012) -- The Retreat Center was a riot of color Saturday, Sept. 28. The Materials Girls of Naugatuck had set up shop, spreading their quilts over every available piece of furniture. In the free corners, sewing machines hummed.
“This building is just perfect,” said Peggy Dufresne, the self-titled “queen” of the group. “I’m so happy here. This is the most beautiful space.”
The Material Girls are an ecumenical sewing group based at the Naugatuck Congregational Church UCC (Don’t let the name fool you; there is a male Material Girl). They meet Tuesdays at 6:30 pm in the church parish house. Go to the back door. And this weekend, they were on retreat at Silver Lake.
Silver Lake’s Retreat Center, which was built in 1964, recently underwent an extensive renovation. In addition to new furniture, paint, and carpeting, work was done on the building’s foundation, plumbing, and electrical system. Two new, ADA-compliant bedrooms were created and three bathrooms were added to each wing. In celebration of the new Retreat Center, the Material Girls have been working on quilted bedspreads to greet guests and enliven the bedrooms.
“We’re halfway there,” Peggy said. “We have 13 to go to get all the beds covered.”
The Material Girls are familiar with hard work and charity crafting. Silver Lake is not the first beneficiary of their needles. Quilts have gone out to women veterans at the Home for the Brave in Bridgeport and to Casa Hogar in Mexico and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation in South Dakota through Simply Smiles. The Girls also made two quilts that were raffled off at Relay for Life Waterbury and contribute something to the church fair each year.
|Quilts warm the Retreat Center bedrooms.|
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Silver Lake Conference Center
But charity quilting wasn’t the agenda for this weekend. This retreat was an opportunity for the Material Girls to have some fun and work on their own special projects.
“We’ve been working so hard on quilts for Silver Lake, so we decided we needed a weekend to do what we wanted,” Peggy said. She added that they would have been happy to spend the day in their pajamas in the “perfect” light of the main room, but they were convinced to get dressed and head to the dining hall to enjoy Chef Bob Slagel’s cooking.
It was their first retreat at Silver Lake, and Peggy said they were so pleased they plan to return. She also invited anyone interested in fabric arts to drop in to one of their meetings in Naugatuck.
“We welcome new people all the time!” she said. “It’s open — you can come to knit, come to crochet, come to quilt, come to talk. There are no rules. You can help with the project or not.”
For more information about the Material Girls, contact Peggy Dufresne at 203.565.6892 or email@example.com.
Jennifer Kronholm Clark is Registrar of Silver Lake Conference Center, the Connecticut Conference's outdoor ministry and retreat center in Sharon.