Friday, March 26, 2010
The Quilt of Many Friendships
When I arrived at Katie's on Sunday afternoon, the other girls there (Misty, Stephanie and Jen) gathered around me with expectant looks on their faces and Katie came forward with a large, puffy gift wrapped in aqua silk. Inside was this amazing quilt, the work of many beloved friends on this continent and Australia, hours of labor, of love, of friendship. I am still trying to take it all in.
This is the bag that Katie made to go with the quilt; inside were beautiful love letters from each contributor. I don't know when Katie had time to do the gathering and construction with all that has been on her plate for the past few months. She backed the quilt with the softest fabric - it makes me purr.
So I will show you the individual squares. This one was Katie's. The lady of the autumn leaves and aqua skies. (thank you Katie. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend.)
Katie made this one too. It is located at the top of the quilt in the center.
Stephanie Lee made this one. Look at all that hand stitching. Stephanie said that there is a prayer in each stitch. I feel safe with so many prayers surrounding me.
Sue Hadden made this one. She joined us on Monday and spent the night at Katie's. I met her over a year ago at the Bandon retreat and have grown more than fond of her. She's one of those quiet on the outside, bigger than life on the inside people. Her art is weird in a wonderful way.
Ro Bruhn's square. I love how she used her hand carved stamps and bright colors on this piece. Ro feels like a very old friend, we met online and created a powerful bond.
I met Pilar in Arizona at Art Unravelled several years ago. She made her square out of a pair of levis that she wore when she was in her 20's - to concerts that she recalled and many other adventures. I love the history of this well worn fabric; of being able to imagine Pilar's splendid college days wearing these levis.
This square is from Misty Mawn, an artist who needs no introduction. I treasure every moment I get to spend with her and always want more.
This is Kelly Kilmer's dyed and stitched heart-in-hand square. Kelly is the red haired teaching dynamo who knows more about journaling and mixed media than just about anyone. I liked her the moment I met her.
Mary Stanley's square. Mary is a gentle & lovely woman who is all things fiber and who inspired me to hook a giant rug a couple of years ago that nearly did me in. When I go to her blog she is usually surrounded by like-minded friends stitching up a storm. I wish we lived closer but then I'd probably start hooking again. (I know, har har.)
Liz Lamoreux is a writer, poet, seamstress and artist who I first met at Artfest 4 years ago. *sigh* Neither of us are at Artfest this year and it is happening right now. She is busy making a baby (more about her Blessingway in a later post) and I have a candle that I'm going to light when she goes into labor. We are all so excited for her and her John. xo
Leighanna Light, thing-maker, photographer, swimmer and storyteller. Teacher. Laughter inciter. Who loves a belly rub? I am smiling as I write this. That's what you do to me, Leighanna.
Alex Shur made this square. She knows Greece, poetry, art and teaching. Depth and beauty. I'm missing her right now. (hi alex)
Kelly Snelling is another blog friend that I hope to meet in person someday. But i feel like we already have met; she is another woman living out loud, loving to paint and make art, spending time with friends and family. She gives me strength.
Jennifer Frank and I met through Katie at Artfest a year ago. She generously pitched in to help out on this project and so I know my instinct was correct about her. She is kind and trusting. Another lovely artist.
Jen made this square. Some day the world will know her name. She is another brilliant creator and loving friend.
E B sent me a square that was made by her grandmother many years ago; what a wonderful treasure. I finally met my blog friend at Squam last year and she was even better in person than online which is saying a lot. I always look forward to her blog entries and journal pages.
Diane Havnen Smith made this beautiful painted square. She lives here in Portland and has worked in every medium imaginable. Thank you, Diane, for extending every kindness to me all along the way. I've been trying to get over to see you for weeks now. And I love your painted face square.
My excellent friend Bee Shay made the next two squares from monoprinting techniques I believe. We also met at Artfest and struck up an immediate and powerful friendship. Bee is the best - friend, art teacher, confidante, author, writer and organizer.
I miss you Bee. It's making me crazy that you are only 4 hours away and I can't see you this time. xo
Judy Wilkenfeld made this truly astonishing square. I love the loose fibers, the colors, textures and hand work that went into this. Judy's work is going to be treasured for generations; she puts her entire heart into every project. Thank you dear Judy, it is an honor to call you friend.
This is the last square on the quilt and it was made by the wonderful Jill Berry who I met in Arizona and again in Wisconsin where we shared more than one bottle of wine while discussing teaching, book arts, our roles as mothers, and the in's and out's of art retreats. Thank you Jill, for making a charm for good vision. It has worked its magic because my eyes are sparkling and strong again and I will never take them for granted, not even for a moment.
Katie accomplished all of this without resorting to contacting people through her blog which is amazing in itself. It was a complete and wonderful surprise and after decades of isolation as an artist (I once said that if I died no one would even notice; I felt so very alone in my garret) - it is good to feel such a strong connection to so many like-hearted souls.
More stories coming.
(added on March 28th: duh! Turns out I can't count! I missed one from my dear friend Annie Lockhart. I am sooo sorry, Annie! Here is her beautiful square up close and thank you Annie for your contribution. I had the photo ready for posting but somehow missed it.)