A new stole brightened up convocation at Mount Saint Vincent University this past spring. Made of needled felt, it was handcrafted for students in MSVU’s MountAbility program by Megan Pegg, who graduated from the program this year.
A Halifax-based artist born with cerebral palsy, Ms. Pegg has been needle-felting for over a decade.
“I love that it’s a dry medium, I love the textures and it’s a medium that I can do fairly independently,” she said. “It’s also a great de-stress and it’s great for fine motor skills as well – it keeps those small muscles in my hands strong.”
Based out of MSVU’s faculty of education, MountAbility is a university pathway program for students with diverse abilities to audit courses and build a skills-based portfolio towards a certificate. Ms. Pegg said she enrolled in the program because it was “a fantastic opportunity for me to do studies at the undergraduate level at university. It’s opened so many other avenues for me.”
Ms. Pegg has exhibited her felting work at MSVU’s art gallery, and her artwork was the subject of a short film that screened at the Atlantic International Film Festival in 2022. After the first MountAbility cohort graduated last spring, program staff approached her to create a stole to be worn by future program grads.
The stole she designed features the university’s colours – navy, gold, white – with “MSVU” stitched vertically down each end of the narrow scarf. With the help of friend, artist and support person Sarah Paynter, Ms. Pegg also made a selection of buttons representing various disability pride flags that allows the wearer to personalize the stole.
She said it “felt wonderful” to walk across the stage this past spring wearing her own creation. “And knowing that I was able to give back to the MountAbility community in such a wonderful way is very beautiful.”