I was at a friends house last night sewing and we were talking about what it means to be a quilter. How did we get involved with this craft and why are we drawn to it.

I was led at a very young age to study the world around me and recreate it as best I could in various mediums (paint, pencil, etc.) I've always had a creative bent but I was also raised to be rather practical. In general art is not practical. Quilting however is the perfect marriage of both art and practicality. I became interested in it when I was still in high school and began my first project at the tender age of sixteen. It was all hand sewn and I'm afraid it's still not done. Heh. I guess everyone should have at least one perpetual UFO. That aside I was a self propelled (I won't say taught as that implies I knew what I was doing) hermit quilter. In my twenties I started several other quilts and even finished one though you could safely say they were of a very na├»ve sort.

I immensely enjoyed looking at quilts in books at this time (I still do), especially historical quilts. So much of history has been written by and about the conquests of men and civilization, neglectful of the "gentler" half the population, this was a way to connect and reach back to those women of days gone by. It pulled at me to wonder what their lives must have been like that quilting was even invented - one of great necessity I'm sure! Quilts constantly remind me of my own abundance in the present and all the women who have hand crafted these family treasures in the past.

The year I turned thirty was the year I began to get serious about quilting. I took my first class which was mind-blowingly enlightening. Ah ha! I now had increased my skill set enough to be dangerous (mostly to myself and my pocket book in the fabric store). I was still a solo quilter but happy and quasi productive... I made a lot of tops that stacked up and are still waiting to be quilted up today. Oops. My early and mid thirties were also a time of great distraction as I got married and had a child. Quilting took a back seat to family life. Family life however also inspired me to want to quilt and keep warm those I love best.

Today I've found community in quilting though guilds and on-line friends (some who became RL friends) who also enjoy the craft. Some are near and some are far but everyone shares and comes together to create and connect. For me it's about history, the connectivity of women in the domestic sphere, creativity, color, expression, family and warmth.


Conte on tinted paper