Quilting Love

before my time
before my time

You all might think I’m daft for not realising until so recently what the quilt buying was really about, but it is true, I didn’t know I was on my own ‘comfort rugging quest’.

I stumbled across a lovely old quilt on eBay while sitting up with my dog Kelly when she was so sick and in pain and I tended her throughout the nights.  The more she hurt the more I hurt, and the more I hurt the more I turned to external things for distraction from a fear of having to euthanise Kelly, a fear that was threatening to drive me right around the bend.  By the end of the three week stretch of a hellish illness with the poor creature I had developed a wicked shake in my hands that I could not still, a shake so pronounced I could barely type on my keyboard, with twitches and tics in spots on my face.  Now that’s stress.
I realised I was looking for distraction with the eBay shopping but I didn’t catch on that the contents of my mailbox and deliveries were all about comfort and a quest for a sense of histories, of the roots that would hold me in good stead during these life storms, roots I don’t have.  I have gained at least ten pounds and more quilts than I can count (because they haven’t all arrived yet).  I have no money(somewhat disturbing, but only somewhat) so all were bought on credit.  I’m not cringing about that really because I spent no money for Christmas as I have no family to spend it on and an acceptable interest pay-back rate.  I also have self-compassion and (finally) self-understanding.
The quilt pictured above was the most expensive at only $80 US.  You read that correctly!  The fellow didn’t sell me his grandmother but he might as well have for that price!  The piece is enormous, covering most of one entire living room wall, entirely handstitched with no discernable pattern and most pieces no larger than a *small* Post-It, and very, very many as small as half a pinky finger.  I keep sitting on the couch staring at it in awe and gratitude to have such a work of art in my home, for it has done something to make this house seem more like a home to me.  All the quilts seem to have that magic.
The best clue to their real meaning for meaning, their connection with my need for roots, for history, for a sense of something besides the terrible present, is that the one requirement for all the quilts I’ve sought out is that they all be antique at best, vintage at least, and hopefully made with love.  The ones called “crazy quilts” are best because they best reflect my crazy life and my episodic internal chaos while managing to be full of comfort at the same time.  I strive to be like that: able to be warm and full of comfort despite my own chaos.
Steph
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Stephanie

I am an artist and curator at large in Hamilton, Ontario. Moreover, I am also a serious patron of the arts. It is not enough to work on my own art, though that is a vast and satisfying part of my life, I also deeply enjoy the company of other artists at all stages of their careers. Emerging artists, mid-career, and established artists all have their particular energies and visions to share that are fascinating to me. The art and literary worlds are my sources of entertainment. I spend my time and energy exploring and celebrating both.

2 thoughts on “Quilting Love”

  1. The quilt is breathtaking–I’m surprised it’s not hanging in a museum! Your search for solace and comfort make perfect sense, Steph. There’s something comforting about understanding the “whys” in us, as well. Love, Believer

  2. I am so struck by this. I teach a short story by Alice Walker called “Everyday Use”. The central themes, for me, are about heritage, past, present, and future with quilts at the center of it all. The seeking of quilts is indeed bringing into your home a whole and the parts, a story with stories. The logic of seeking and buying these quilts is exponential. I hope they bring you some sense of yourself and your own heritage, even self authored.

    By the way, I am Kim. I sort of lurk but lately seem to be writing more and responding more to the world around me in my different creative outlets.

    Thank you so much for this post.

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