Gathering the Threads at the Multicultural Fair

As part of the 10th Annual UNC Medical Center Multicultural Fair on Nov. 6, longtime crocheter and new UNC Hospitals employee Quel Davis will share the benefits and history of her craft.

Gathering the Threads at the Multicultural Fair click to enlarge For more than a decade, Quel Davis has been practicing her craft of crocheting.
Gathering the Threads at the Multicultural Fair click to enlarge Examples of Quel Davis's crocheting work.

When Quel Davis isn’t on duty at UNC Hospitals, she can often be found expressing her creativity through the art of crocheting – a handcraft that uses a hooked needle to loop threads together.

For Davis, the craft is a great way to meet people and build friendships. Davis recently joined UNC Hospitals as an administrative specialist in the radiology unit, and crocheting already has helped her get involved in the community.

“After a colleague of mine saw me crocheting during my lunch break, she encouraged me to sign up for the Multicultural Fair,” says Davis, who worked at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro for ten years before coming to UNC.

Now in its tenth year, the Multicultural Fair celebrates diversity at UNC Medical Center by promoting awareness and providing education about the many cultures represented by our staff, patients and surrounding community. The day includes music, dancing, crafts, and food from all around the world, as well as participation from your colleagues and others from the local community.  

At the fair, Davis will display an assortment of handcrafted items such as blankets, hats, scarves and earrings. In each item Davis creates, every knot and fiber contributes to the unique style and texture of the design.

Crocheting is not only about creating objects but creating memories – it allows people to share something in common.

“Crocheting helps people create good memories with their loved ones,” she says.

Growing up, Davis recalls watching her great aunt crochet blankets for her and her sisters. 

“That’s the only thing I remember about my aunt: her hands creating a blanket out of yarn for me,” she says.

It wasn’t until she injured her elbow in 2003 that Davis learned how to crochet. In search of a method that would help heal and strengthen her fingers, she thought of crocheting as a solution.

“I used the craft to turn my focus away from the pain,” she says.

With the help of a colleague, she began crocheting in no time – and she hasn’t stopped since.      

In addition to serving as a form of physical therapy for her, it has also served as a source of comfort during difficult moments.

“When a friend passed away due to breast cancer, crocheting was a coping mechanism for me,” Davis says.  

To keep herself busy during that time, she crocheted, thinking about the time she had spent with her friend. Before long she had finished a blanket in one sitting.

“It was a useful stress reliever and in the end I created something beautiful at the same time,” she says.

Davis believes that crocheting can alleviate symptoms of depression, physical pain, insomnia, anxiety and grief. Over a span of twelve years, she has begun to seek out more challenging projects than she had attempted in the past, creating a variety of needlework projects and sharing the skills she has acquired with anyone willing to learn.

“I can’t teach people how to cook but I can teach anyone how to crochet,” she laughs.

With the opportunity to participate in the Multicultural Fair on Nov. 6, Davis is looking forward to teaching her new colleagues about her craft and learning about the diversity of cultures at UNC Hospitals.

“Whenever I take trips and travel to other cities across the state and country, I always want to know what the locals do,” says Davis. “With the fair coming up soon, I’m excited to see the different cultures that exist in my own community.”

The Multicultural Fair will be held on Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the lobbies of UNC Hospitals. Be sure to celebrate diversity by attending the fair and experiencing the food, entertainment, exhibits and wonderful crafts that represent diversity in our community. For more information about this year's fair, visit this link

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