Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Craft and Spirituality

For me and I suspect, many fellow crafters there is a lot of meaning tied up in their creating. When I sew something for someone it is an excercise of my spirit way beyond the the'concrete-ness' of the fabric and the 'end product'.
I will give my quilts as an example. Often quilts choose me to be made- some random thought leads to a quilt...I generally don't make quilts for people who ask (is that mean?), they need to be 'given' of generous heart, not badgered for or expected (if by chance you are my friend and have asked me for a quilt, you may get one one day, but in my time, not yours!) It's the unexpectedness of the gift which is part of the loveliness. My quilts say what my words can't, and give presence, when I can't . As I spend hours stitching, I am holding the reciever in my heart, in my thoughts.
I made a quilt for my friend D (who may be my only 'real life' friend who reads this!). She had suffered for many years with chronic illness, and spent a fair bit of time in bed. There was nothing I could do to make her better, I didn't have a fairy wand, but I could give her my time and stitch with love, for her. I figured, if she's in bed so much a quilt would be of comfort.
I made a quilt for my friends after their baby was stillborn. It was for Hayley (the baby) in recognition of her short life 'on the inside' because I didn't get to know her 'on the outside'. The fabrics chosen were similar colours to the bridesmaids gowns we wore at their wedding. I said it was made to hug, to cry on, to throw across the room -whatever was needed! She said her children loved it and often sat under it together. She also told me it sat across the bottom of her bed and kept her company in the wee hours of the morning as she cried.
I made a quilt for my God daughter and her two siblings, upon their departure to Chicago to live. They wouldn't pack me in their suitcase, so I made sure that they packed something 'of me'!
There are the celebration quilts too- when you turn 90 in my family, you get a quilt (there have been 3 so far!)- a fair achievement I reckon, worth celebrating. I already told you about Great Aunt Betty's (she calls it her hug rug!), well, Grandpa got one too, he sits under it and watches the footy on tv.

This is the quilt I made for grandpa (who I inherited through marriage!). I wish I had taken a photo of all the quilts I have made, I do that now. I made it using fabric he would like (as close to yellow and brown as I could go for this Hawthorn supporter). It's a few years old now and has been well loved.

 I made one for my grandma, who died a few months later. She had moved into an aged care facility so I chose fabrics with big roses on it and called it (yes, I name my quilts) 'My grandmas garden'. When she died, I was planning to hand it straight on to my mum but some wise soul told me to hang onto it for a while and enjoy the connection between my quilt and my grandma as I got used to her not being around. A few years on and I still love having it in my lounge room.

I could go on, but I won't today, this has been a hard post to write, probably because it is about those things not tangible and it's hard to cover that in words.
If someone gives you something they have made with their hands, chances are you have their love as well as the present you hold.


  1. What a lovely post - I totally agree with the fact that people get quilts when I'm ready (and not on anyone elses timeframe).

    The cot quilt I'm about to finish was started when my friend was hospitalised during pregnancy (at about 25 weeks) so I wasn't sure what was going to happen with her bub. She now has a healthy baby girl and I'm really looking forward to my handiwork keeping her little girl warm and cozy!

  2. beautiful post. you've moved me to tears.

  3. That is one of the most beautiful posts I've read in ages. I've got tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms. You are a beautiful story teller. have a lovely weekend. Love Kate (Daylesford Organics)

  4. We love having your beautiful quilts in Chicago. They get carried all over the house, as they are used for different purposes - while watching tv, on the bed, or whever. I must admit that I currently have one on my bed, and another one on my reading chair in the study. I love them becasue they are beautiful, and made by you! Thank you for our special gifts from the heart!

  5. Wow, what a touching and beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel very inspired and would feel extremely lucky if I were ever at the receiving end of such a heartfelt gift. xxx

  6. I just popped by to see how your blog is going - to find such a wonderful post. I love it, you are so right, when I think about it there are only three people I ever make things for (not including swaps). For me it is also about trusting someone with something that is a little bit of me - does that make sense?
    Anyway, thanks for sharing such a lovely post with us all.


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