Friday, January 15, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
"One thing was not censored: the power of women's hands." --Marjorie Agosin
Since last Wednesday, I've been thinking about Chilean arpilleras. Arpilleras are folk textiles now widely sold in South America to tourists. I have a number of them; my husband has worked extensively in various South American countries.
Arpillera is Spanish for "burlap" and refers to the backing used:
In the same year, the rock start Sting recorded his song: They Dance Alone. It is the true story of another artistic rebellion that Chilean women performed: they danced alone in a dance meant for couples called the Cueca. Even now, many women still dance the Cueca alone as a form of mourning their loved (and disappeared) family members. You can hear the song here. It remains one of the most haunting and powerful pop songs I have heard.
Throughout history, artists have depicted oppression and inhumanity in their works; I've spent most of my life studying this kind of artwork. Still powerful pieces such as Guernica--made by Picasso who had money and prestige for protection--pale in comparison to the courage of the women who sewed these humble pieces and risked everything to relay the inhumanity they endured.
I have been thinking about Chilean arpilleras this past week. How would I relay all the inhumanity, indifference, and immorality of the past 4 years which culminated in the seige of the Capitol? How would you?
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Monday, January 11, 2021
Today's story interested me for a couple of reasons. Our quilter today had worked most of his life as harness maker which sounds archaic but isn't as unusual as city dwellers assume. I remember visiting the urban neighborhood where my father grew up when my aunt pointed out where the horse troughs were (and that was in the 1930s and early 40s).
Another aspect that you might find interesting is Eilers decision to machine quilt. Machine quilting goes back much farther than most people assume. Our study group has examined 19th century machine quilted textiles.
So from Mansfield, Ohio, here is Henry's story:
Friday, January 8, 2021
Yes this week we need as much cheering up as possible!
It's Flower Friday!
71 days until the first day of Spring!
Here are some delights to brighten your day:
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Monday, January 4, 2021
During this past holiday, I spent a lot of my free time marveling at the resilience of quilters. By resilience, I mean the psychological definition: the ability to adapt well in times of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or any type of significant stress.
Although many quilters did mention that the year was very traumatic, they ended 2020 focused on the positive:
"These were my favorite quilts I made!"
"I used us XXX amount of my fabric stash in 2020!"
"I finished a number of quilts this past year!"
No sooner had the year ended when the blogs and social media sites began to fill with other optimistic topics:
"I've already started my new quilt for 2021!"
"I've joined such and such challenge for the new year!"
"I'm already working on my new quilt for ...."
It's true, hobbies are a great source of comfort, especially in tumultuous times. But for those of you who read my blog and don't quilt, let me tell you: you are missing all the fun.
Whenever I sew or engage with quilters online or via text, I feel like I've entered a new realm. It's not unlike reading a book. Suddenly my attention from the anxieties of the world disappear and I'm transported to a happier place.
I'm proud to belong to a community of folks who support each other and each other's work. We are not people who wring our hands and lament when the world has problems. We do something.
The majority of us are not curing cancer or first responders. We make hugs comprised of fabric. Giving a textile hug may not stop the pandemic or change the political climate but giving love in any form is a good enough reason to do anything.
We adress the problems and joys of our world with four simple words: "Let's Make a Quilt."
The notion is as old as quilting itself:
"Let's Make a Quilt" was a favored advertising slogan before and during the depression. Quiltmaking became even more popular when it was supported by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1934:
I've been in email conversations through the weekend with some of you. Many of us have made so many quilts that our family has had enough. I learned from my friend Jeanette a clever tactic: always keep some lap quilts on hand. When one of my kids' eloped, she immediately sent a lap quilt as a gift. She had a stockpile for unexpected gift giving.