The creative and spiritual journey of a (textile) recycler. . .

I have thought about starting a blog for a long time now. I just couldn’t seem to get started. I thought. . what would I say, what would I do and really . . . . . who would care.

Last year I had the great fortune to witness a ‘happening’. As a spouse at a reunion (I know, groan) I was both an observer and participant. This reunion was attended by some of the most creative and talented people on the face of the planet. Really, no exaggeration! But many were holding onto life long insecurities. They didn’t think they were talented enough and embarrassed to perform in front of each other for fear of . . who knows . . . finger pointing, whispers, laughter, ridicule of some sort for sure. Once it was revealed that many shared the same feelings, the healing began. And I was the lucky one. I got to witness it all and benefit as well.

So, the message is that we all think we are not good enough compared to someone else, but we are. Don’t let your fears and insecurities stop you. We can’t measure our own success by someone else’s talents.

This revelation and the kindness / support of strangers has propelled my creative journey to a place I had given up ever getting to. Tho I thought my creative juices were dried up forever, they have merely been reawakened. Many thanks to all involved in my process, including in-part . . Victoria B, Mrs. W., Charles Mc., Claudia H, Mary B, Cindy G, Sandy B, Traci B., Kat C, and my IAA family. So, thank you. I dedicate this blog to all of you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekly Journal Quilt Project

This week I received an email notice about a new Yahoo art quilt group that was forming. It's a small group dedicated to creating one small quilt per week for one year, size, theme and materials are at at the discretion of each individual quilter. Sounds great. .  so I joined. Since I had a pile of small pieces calling out to me for a few years, yes years, I thought I would try to whip something up tonight. Voila!

This group was just the kick I needed to do something with that small pile of black and white, red, orange, hot pink and Asian scraps . . . plus the stamped fabric reject. They were left over from a quilt top that I made during my 'boo-boo knee' year. But, it just always seems like there's a new idea to try, a new technique to try or a new yummy piece of fabric to play with, so these scraps just sat there staring at me for a few years, getting moved from one spot to another, always within reach and always with the intent to make something 'tonight'.

So, what better way to honor these patient and dear friends but to give them the place of honor that they so deserve. . . quilt #1.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Words to live by. Believe it. Live it.

Sometimes I toss the wrapped fortune cookies that come in the Chinese food carry out bag in a drawer. They can reside there for months getting pushed farther and farther to the back as more stuff gets tossed in with them. Tonight I decided to rummage around and see if there was a stray cookie waiting to be pulled from the drawer, and lo and behold. . . here is the fortune inside:

"Your life will be prosperous if you use your creativity."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Addiction Starts Early

Part of spiritual and creative growth is allowing yourself to be open to all possibilities. I did just that yesterday and came to a shocking realization. I began to wonder when my affinity for scraps began to rear its ugly head. I thought just within the last few years as I began making small art quilts. . .  but no. . I started my love affair with collecting and using fabric scraps as a very young child - not a middle aged adult as I thought! By the time I was 5 years old I already understood the their value. And, I just couldn’t stand the thought of seeing them treated as useless objects, carelessly tossed into the trash when I knew at least I could do something fabulous with them. I didn’t know it then, but I was on my way to becoming addicted to textile recycling.

In the beginning, whenever and whatever I could get my hands on was used to make doll clothes. . . sewing by hand. The thought of using a machine never entered my mind. You see, I was not allowed to go anywhere near a sewing machine. Too dangerous, but a needle and thread was ok. Go figure. 

On a family trip out of town, I was left alone with a much older cousin who had always made her own clothing. I think just seeing her machine made my eyes twirl. Here was my big chance and my mom wasn’t around to stop me. So I asked my cousin to show me how the machine worked and with no prompting at all she patiently and lovingly showed me how to use it, then let me do it myself. I was actually able to run the machine, pushing fabric under the needle. I loved it. I was hooked. 

From that day forward I let it be known that I wanted a sewing machine of my own and wasn’t about to stop till I got one. No, I wasn’t a brat or spoiled, but I knew this was a destiny I had to fulfil. And besides, it did take a few years. This was not a case of ask and ye shall receive. My mom was no push over, but round about 2nd grade or so, my lucky day arrived. 

I was so excited to get my new machine. I had waited so long to get it. . . but also curious to see how it worked. So, I proceeded to spread newspaper all over the basement floor. I’m no fool. I couldn’t leave any trace of what I was about to do. I got a few screwdrivers and wrenches from my dad’s workbench and sat down with curiosity and great confidence. I then started ever so carefully to take my shiny new machine apart, one screw at a time, carefully placing each in line on the newspaper. Just when I had finished and the machine was sitting in rows of metal pieces, I began inspecting them, then the metal carcass. I was greatly engrossed in my inspection running my fingers across the metal, tracing the thread path when I was startled by my mom entering the basement. Yipes. . . I heard the loudest shriek I think I ever heard come out of her. My poor mom. Of course she had absolutely no faith in my ability to put it all back together. I was just an elementary school kid after all. . . and a young one at that! When she finally retreated, horrified I might add, I thought I should make quick work of putting my new treasure back together. After all, dad would be home soon. 

I used that machine for many years to make my own clothes just as my cousin had done and of course, I never threw out a scrap. By the time I was in high school my mom was really over the scrap thing and repeatedly threatened to put them out on garbage day. That’s when I began making quilts. 

You might wonder after all these years what ever happened to my wonderful old machine. Well, I still have it. Other than the tape marks on it (what was I thinking!), it still looks pretty good. That machine is over 50 years old and still works! Thanks mom and dad for the wonderful gift you gave me. . . but I never took it apart again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's been a while!

It has been a long time since I have posted to the blog. . .  not because I had nothing to say or show, but due to an unreliable computer that was hacked leaving me with ongoing viruses issues. I am now back on track and excited to share some of the things I have learned thru creating. Keep checking back and remember, feed back and sharing is welcome.