Pillow talk at the PCA


April 27, 2023

Suzanne Holmes shows off cushions and pillows created and donated by locals that will be used to line the hard pews in the old Pioneer Church, now the Pioneer Center. The Pioneer Community Association is preparing to open the doors soon, hoping to reconnect the community to the old building, with music events and more. Photos by Diana Zimmerman.

The Pioneer Community Association's Bottoms Up campaign to soften seating in the old church pews is gaining ground with 55 cushions turned in so far. They would love to see even more.

Participants seem to be enjoying the creative challenge, whether they are new to sewing or have more sophisticated skills. One person even wove by hand the fabric that encases her pillow, with colors reminiscent of the building's stained glass windows.

Each cushion tells a story about the person who donated it, adding to the history of the venue.

The Bottom's Up challenge invites community members to use fabric to symbolizes their connection to the community and how they see life in Wahkiakum. The PCA also wants to know when the crafter's family came to the county. So far they've received cushions from people who moved here in recent years all the way to people whose ties to the area go back to the 1800s.

Some members of 4-H practiced their sewing skills, donating several cushions. Another local celebrated the Wahkiakum Mules with some very sporting pillows. There are tractors, and trees and fish, and a depiction of the Covered Bridge in Grays River.

"The Cathlamet Womans Club has been an incredible supporter of the project. They just keep churning them out and each one is more beautiful than the last one," Suzanne Holmes of the PCA said.

"It's fun to look out and see the creativity and variety," Holmes said.

The PCA is looking for cushions or pillows that are 16 inch squares. Initially they were looking for cushions, but they welcome pillows now too. The completed cushions can be dropped off at the office of the Town of Cathlamet. Questions can be directed to Holmes at billsueholmes@msn or 360-430-3771.

"It makes some hard pews a bit more comfortable," Holmes said. "Keep them coming!"

So much work has already been done to restore the Pioneer Church, now Pioneer Center, to its former splendor, but there will always be more. While that is ongoing, as is raising the money to do it, the PCA is now trying to figure out ways to get the community back in the building, sitting comfortably on the pillows they may have made themselves, enjoying music and lectures, and more.


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