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.)


Jacky said...

What an absolutely wonderful will be able to wrap yourself in the friendship, love and art that are this amazing quilt and think of all these lovely friends and fellow artists.
I so enjoyed seeing each square individually (as well as a whole) and taking in all the wonderful detail.
What a treasure!


Ro Bruhn said...

Katie was amazing to get everything organised in such a short space of time. The quilt looks fabulous she's done a wonderful job. I was so proud to be asked to contribute, even though we haven't met I feel I've known you for years. I was trying to guess from the photo who made each piece, Katies was the only one I had correct.

Clare Wassermann said...

That is one amazing piece of collaboration and friendship. I can imagine it being unearthed in 200 years time, researched and a book written about it!!

Emma said...

What a stunning present, I loved hearing all about each square. I'm sorting out a postcard sized swap for my 50th (heard about the idea on Dosfishes blog) & I hope mine look as good as yours when I put them all together in June.

Keep well& good luck

peggy said...

Oh My Gosh, Judy, what an amazing quilt made with love for you. You so deserve it. Love your blog, prayers are being said for you from all of us. Enjoy your day and your beautiful, soulful quilt.

lyle baxter said...

what a wonderful gift of friendship and encouragement! every time you touch it you will have your buddies right beside you! never alone again! lyle

Buffy said...

Wow,this is just breathtaking,what a gift to treasure,so beautiful. Thanks for sharing each square so we could see it better.

Jennifer White said...

I am speechless. This is beyond beautiful and I cannot imagine how it must've felt receiving this from your wonderful friends, Judy. Katie sure is the master of surprise isn't much love aimed right at you to wrap around you over and over again... xo

child in harmony said...

I just stopped by your blog..and I am in AWE! What a heartfelt treasure!

I LOVE all the different art!

I am now sooo inspired and excited to get back to my own quilting..but in new ways !


Unknown said...

oh Judy - what a wonderful treasure you received.
I'll have to come back to this post and check out all their blogs & websites.

Marit said...

This is beyond stunning.. this is the most amazing gift I've ever seen and I'm sure you will cherish it the rest of your life... you deserve it! Have a sunny weekend!

Pat said...

Wow! Artists are the most amazing people on the planet and this magnificent gift is a testament to the generosity and giving spirit of creative women everywhere. May you always feel loved and protected under this beautiful quilt. Thank you for taking the time to show each square and link to every artist. This post was such a treat to read!

Ruostevilla said...

What an emotion! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Renee Troy said...

I am astounded by your quilt and a bit envious that it's yours ;O) How wonderful to have this amazing work of art and to have such wonderful friends. You are a lucky lady!

Carol said...

What an amazing gift of beauty and love!

jaihn said...

A Beauty-full treasure of a quilt gift.
Thank you for making this lovely, rich, celebratory post.

Meri said...

Such an amazing gift of love showered on you! And I was wondering if there could be an "online" baby shower for Liz's impending baby girl? Her arrival is only a few weeks away.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful friends to wrap you in this quilt of love.
The film of you ladies painting was amazing, such color and such light and what an energizing experience it must have been. Kudos on your video first!

eb said...

I love you Judy
in my dreams you live next door
and we have hot spicy chai
each evening
looking out at pink sunsets
sparkling on the lake
and sliding over the Adirondacks
we are doing this in my tree house of course
surrounded by silk and velvet pillows
being... dreaming... and playing...
forever and a day

xox - eb.

Colette said...

I feel all aglow from this sharing. So much love from and to you. Thankyou for opening your story to strangers like me who come blog hopping. I love your quilt and I feel glad you had and have such hugs from all these beautiful ladies.

Seth said...

What a great and meaningful collaboration.

annie lockhart said...

oh i wish i could've been there to see you open it! the finished quilt is gorgeous. mmmmmmmm!

Karen Cole said...

An amazing gift for an amazing woman.

There is nothing on this earth like female collaboration and friendship.

You are truly blessed.

xo Karen

Sue said...

WOW, the quilt is utterly stunning, what a fabulous post ♥

Unknown said...

Mah-ve-lous! Simply marvelous!! ...very inspiring. Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

I am feeling so overwhelmed as I look at the love that all these beautiful women have for my dear mother.

She is the love and light of our family and it brings my heart joy to know that she is so loved by such gifted and kind women. I am crying grateful tears.

Thank you for loving my mom and having the divine hearts that you do.


Kelly Snelling said...

love you sweetest girl! i don't sew or embroider so i was a bit nervous to begin. but i had that beautiful old purple velvet from my husband's grandmother. and i just made up stitches as i went along. that little bird it carrying love to you. xoxo!!

lynda howells said...

l cried while l was reading this. you are such a loved woman and l can see why. I have always admired your work from over the ocean in London. one of these days l would love to meet you but for now, l will have to be happy and know you through your blogx But what an amazing quilt of love. you are so lucky to be blessed by so many wonderful artist friends. L am thinking about you a lot lately and hope all is on its way to being wellxlynda

Brian K said...

What a wonderful quilt made by some truly amazing artists! Each square is a work of art! Priceless!

dewatobay said...

Judy, thank you for taking the time to take the photos (& post) of this amazing expression of love & friendship.
You are blessed.

Amy said...

I, too, was overcome with emotion when I read this post and saw the photographs of this amazing collaboration made for such an incredible woman. The depth of your friendships is a true testament to the person you are, Judy. You are an inspiration to us all and I am so glad you will be wrapped in love all the days of your life. What a gift! Be well.

Sharyn said...

How can you not be surrounded by love with such a wonderful quilt? Know that thoughts, prayers and positive energies are with you where ever you go.

Jill said...

What a stunning gift

And so it goes... said...

Overwhelmingly stunning! To know you are cocooned inside the loving blessings of such wonderful friends has got to be the ultimate! A true blanket of healing... What a treasure (YOU and the quilt!).
xoxoxo deb/debbie/debra

misty said...

miss judy, my obsession with lady gaga is only worser (as jade would say) now, after you and i gluttonously watched her in awe... thank you for that, i will cherish it along with many other wonderful memories from our time together. i love you dearly and am so happy i am in this beautiful family... how i got here, i don't know, but i am so grateful and will forever be.
wrapping my arms around you from afar, counting down the days until we can all be wild and free together again...
thank you.

Pilar said...

It was such an honor and blessing to be invited to be a part of this beautiful healing circle of amazing artists. Katie really out did herself by organizing this project and putting it together. You are such a dear, dear, soul and you enrich and inspire so many. Thank you!

Judy said...

Judy W
Judy with round black rimmed glasses...

You are a special soul that emanates love and meaningful friendships. I dont quite recall how it came to be that you touched my soul so, but I am sure glad you did. That I got to be one of the lucky ladies who participated in this act of caring and expressing our love to and for you, is an honour I cherish. To read your daughters comment made me cry so much, cry with joy that she gets to see all those who genuinely care about you. You are loved!

Love from
Judy W
Judy with round black rimmed glasses...

Katherine said...

WOW...what an amazing collaborative quilt. You are so lucky to be so loved & cared for by these wonderfully creative women. Best of luck with your surgery & prep stuff...we'll all be thinking positive & healing thoughts for you!

nina said...

how very very lovely. i didn't know about your upcoming surgery; quite obviously, i am out of the loop. take good care, judy, and get lots of rest. xx