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NEWS > Philanthropy News > Loreto memories brought to life in patchwork

Loreto memories brought to life in patchwork

A 1921 Yearbook given new life by alumna artist in a patchwork masterpiece!

We would like to gratefully acknowledge Simone Meagher (’83) for her generous gift to the School of a patchwork piece inspired by her grandmother’s Yearbook from 1921. Simone is an accomplished visual artist and owner of Etched Recollections. Her work has been featured in several embroidery and patchwork magazines.

Simone’s grandmother, Dorothea ‘Dorrie’ Flynn (née Hickey, ’21), inspired this particular work, which incorporates silk ribbon embroidery, stitching, patchwork and beading.

The School is always delighted to receive such special gifts and to hear recollections from your or your family’s days at school. If you would like to make a donation of your school memorabilia, please contact archives@loretonh.nsw.edu.au or normonetwork@loretonh.nsw.edu.au.

Please enjoy this reflection from Simone about her artwork and time at Loreto:

This piece was designed and created by me as a sentimental homage to Loreto, inspired by my grandmother’s photographic yearbook from 1921, and the timeless sepia photos it contains, as well as my love of old things and the stories I imagine attached to them. It features the kind of needlework girls of this era would have been familiar with; silk ribbon embroidery, stitching, crazy patchwork and beading. The piece is unapologetically nostalgic and sentimental with roses, a teddy bear, a poem, cobwebs (a symbol of good luck in Victorian era embroidery), and perhaps the kinds of treasures you might find in a precious button box, or cookie tin, like a hair pin, buttons, lace and ribbons.

One can imagine so much from the innocent and beautiful faces of these little girls in the central photo, in their mismatched uniforms, varied facial expressions, floppy bows and ribbons. What were they thinking and what happened in their future lives? We can pick the goody two shoes with her perfect poise and perfectly presented uniform, the impatient one who can’t stand still, the shy ones, and the happy ones who are up for anything. My grandmother isn’t actually in this photo as she was a senior, but I preferred this one. The colour scheme of deep burgundies and browns reminds me of the formal drawing room at Loreto where we sometimes went for special occasions as well as the decorative bricks and arches in the historic architecture.

I was a student at Loreto from Year 5 through to Year 12 and I loved knowing I was walking in the footsteps of my grandmother, and that my sister would walk in both of ours when her time came. The architecture and extensive grounds of Loreto always made me feel connected to the past in a timeless, magical way. Loreto was a safe haven from the bustling traffic outside and the fast -paced world. A place where we could sit on the grass and relax with friends, singing songs and laughing in our own little oasis. The carefully manicured flower gardens, lush trees and foliage gave us so much space to explore and to find peace. St Bernadette was my favourite saint and I took her name in confirmation. She was belittled and overlooked in life, suffered a great deal and expected nothing. Her humility and courage have always been a source of inspiration. Although I wouldn’t have told my friends at the time, the grotto on the school grounds where Mary appears to Bernadette was always a very special place for me.

The grand arches, winding pathways and scenic vistas everywhere you looked, implanted a sense of importance and academic purpose. You knew this was a special place and that your time here was precious and fleeting. As young Loreto girls we were encouraged to explore the world, to extend ourselves, and to keep trying. We were encouraged to think critically, and our ideas were challenged, so that we could grow. We were presented with countless opportunities for personal development, student leadership, learning autonomy, and learning diversity, some within the classroom and some as extra -curricular activities; school magazine, debating, drama, set design, musicals, music lessons, music festivals, choir, art competitions, private art, sporting representation, camps, languages, overseas trips, to name a few! In retrospect, some of us may have put way too much energy into pranks, laughter and distraction at the expense of taking up these incredible opportunities. As a school community, as peers and as friends we cared for each other through the ups and downs of school life as well as personal challenges and hardships, developing life- long friendships as a result.

My creativity was always encouraged and nurtured at Loreto, where I spent many hours in the Art rooms, outside of class and after school, (stealing boarder’s biscuits). I went on to become an Art teacher, inspired by Mother Evangeline, Sr Juliana and Mrs Peats, no doubt. I later retrained as a Primary school teacher but continue to nurture creativity, curiosity and individuality in my students. I also continue to pursue creative pursuits of my own and am currently exploring etching. I am happiest and most at home in a creative headspace, and it is no surprise that my son is pursuing a career in music.

A Loreto education taught me to be a feminist, knowing that through hard work I could achieve anything, but also that there is grace to be had in contemplation, and strength in softness. Loreto instilled in me a love of learning and an ability to embrace change as an opportunity for growth and to accept the dark that inevitably accompanies the light. To be a Loreto girl is a continuous bond that spans generations, one that I am lucky enough to share with my grandmother, my sister and my friends, and linked to countless lives and stories waiting to be shared.

Simone Meagher

Class of 1983

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