Colorful stuffed elephant stampede invades Stetson Gallery at Marblehead UU Church

A colorful show of stuffed cotton elephants created by Nancy Diaz is on display during February at the Stetson Gallery in the Unitarian Universalist Universalist Church of Marblehead at 28 Mugford St.

Diaz is also displaying stuffed teddy bears she has made as prototypes for puppets to accompany a friend’s book about the relationship between a polar bear and a black bear. The community is invited to celebrate with her at noon at the church on Feb. 26. Refreshments will be served.

Nancy Diaz poses with some of the colorful stuffed elephants she began to create during COVID quarantine. COURTESY PHOTO

During the COVID quarantine, Diaz was searching for a meaningful way to fill her time at home and made 17 colorful gingham elephants, which she donated to Temple Sinai for its collection of gifts for the New American Center in Lynn.

The center, which supports migrants from countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine, not only was not only hunting for housing for the newcomers but sought toys and books for children.

“They were such a big hit, I made 20 more,” Diaz said.

These fellows are currently hanging from the walls of the church, looking for families to treasure them.

Diaz has sewn many of her own outfits; she also makes quilts and knits sweaters for friends and family. Diaz teaches a knitting group at Temple Sinai, which makes hats, scarves, fingerless gloves and baby blankets for shelters like Lifebridge and HAWC, which offers help to abused women.

During the early days of the COVID epidemic, Diaz made hundreds of face masks from fabric she had collected over the years for people having trouble finding protective gear.

She also has knitted a large supply of yarmulkes, which she plans to donate to local temples, where they can be used to cover the heads of congregants.

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