Monday, July 14, 2008

This is what gives me goosebumps

Words, playing with words, and really cool inventive writing all gives me goosebumps. Also, coming across someone else's words that sparks a connection/idea that you felt or knew, but didn't know how to name it. Its that moment of recognition of something true, that happens when what you are reading connects to important idea from your own life/experience. For example, I was reading recently the book Quilty as Charged, undercover in a Material World by Spike Gillespie and I had one of those moments in the chapter where she has her interview with quilt artist Ricky Tims. He was talking about what quilting meant to him, and this paragraph hit home with me:
Quilting is so much more than cutting out fabrics, picking out fabrics, sewing them together. Quilting, when it comes down to it, is something that is so rich and so deep and so meaningful. We work through our greatest sorrows and the greatest joys of our lives--"Oh someone's getting married--we gotta make them a wedding quilt. New baby's coming..."
The quilt becomes a landmark in life, and it also dictates and says this is where I was in my life at this time. So as a quilter, if you make a series of quilts--whether it's five or fifty in your lifetime--people, once we're gone can just go back and chronicle our life in these sets of quilts. Whether they're utility quilts or art quilts or whatever, so much of who we are goes into that quilt. I understand that, and they [other quilters] understand that. That's what makes quilters so incredibly joined together. . .There's something about quilting that's so much different than any of the other textile art forms.

This idea that each quilt is a landmark of the quilter's life is idea that gives me goosebumps. If I even look at the ones I've made, and there are more unfinished than finished at this point, I can see both my growth as a quilter, trying new techniques, developing skills, finding out what aspects of quilting appeals to me, makes me enjoy it as an art form and I can remember what specific events were happening when I was working on a particular quilt. I can also see plainly that as an artist and person, that doing the finishing parts of quilting (binding, sewing on a hanging sleeve, labeling the quilt) are tough for me as they aren't as much fun as the sewing of the top, designing things, or even once the quilt is basted, hand quilting the quilt. But as I struggle with finishing things I've started, I know that I am not alone with this from the many conversations I've had with other quilters and so this sense of community does help me give myself praise when I do good, and forgive myself for being human.

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