Once again I ask myself, "What happened to the weekend?" I woke up and snuggled in thinking how nice it was that I didn't have to get up and then with a start realised that I did indeed need to get up and face the chill in the air!
As a community, we quilters gather, chat and share creative ideas. We chat over busy fingers sharing our lives. We "know" each other but as if caught in the moment of the present we don't always have a full history of each other. We see what we see today, often with little or no insight into where we have come from before this multi tasking moment of making. One of the benefits of belonging to the NSW Quitlers' Guild is the opportunity to dig deep into what quilts make up another quilter. None of us are as we were before.
A few weeks back my trusty quilting and MO companion Cath was the feature quilter of the day at the guild office for the Friday Showcase. This gathering takes place the first Friday of each month and is usually attended by a group of curious and supportive quilters. Cath, the queen of all things small, spent a few days and nights in preparation for her presentation which included a wide variety of quilts made over the span of nearly two decades. I heard mumbled comments about bindings and applique and felt a mysterious whir of activity in the stitching department taking place outside of shop hours.
Her show started with several large appliqued and pieced block quilts done long before we met. Ithink I know Cath as a quilter but I saw more than I bargained for in her collection. Although her signature pulled back colours were in full swing these quilts made me curious about what her quilting life was like before we met.
Kim McLean, Brigitte Giblin and Marg George were names all dropped as the teachers that taught the techniques that make up Cath's exhibition of quilts.
When I look at these quilts I feel a bit like one or all of the characters in the Wizard of Oz when they stand before the wizard and ask for a brain, a heart and courage...where was I when all this learning and making was going on? Years of Cath's experience spread across the table in the full glory of fashionable fabrics in medallion quilts, samplers and more.
Oh, now I see one I recognize. Enter quick quilt number one! Most of these quilts are big and that is also a surprise as Cath is the designer of our Starting Blocks and they are all small!
This one was a group effort from the days of Cut Loose Quilters. We all made blocks and joined them together in celebration of discovering the quilters of Gee's Bend. This quilt was a real celebration of letting go of rules and regulations and working together with what was at hand. After the resourceful experience we had making this quilt it was like a dream come true when we met a group of the Gee's Bend Quitlers at Sisters last year.
In this quilt we celebrate Gwen Marston and her book Liberated String Quilts. This particular pattern is also on the cover of Georgia Quilts and has made a round of the web world but I think Cath's is one of my favourites.
Although this one isn't one of Cath's favourites it is one of mine. We were studying Aboriginal art and looking for links to the traditions of quilting. One symbol that resonated was the tree of life. Instead of the deciduous trees of Europe or America, this tree of life is the Boab Tree found in arid dry land. Simple in shape and form but full of meaning.
Another in the Aboriginal series was this drunkard's path with a symbolic link to the rivers that run beneath the structure of the earth bringing the live giving water in support of life.
Many of these quilts are finished and many are not but they all represent a place and time in the life of one quilter.
The choices we make become our body of work. They shape us into the quilter that we are. It is a wonderful experience to walk that trail of discovery again and to review, revive and in some cases resist the temtempations to repeat.
It strikes me that our quilt collections do become a bit of a revealing face for our lives. Full of surprises, stories, memories, ideas, starts and finishes...good choices and bad all standing honestly before our friends telling the legacy of our time together and alone. Although I feel as though I "know" Cath I can see there is more than meets the eye and I am reminded not to take this friend, or any friend for granted. Dig deeper. k