How do you fold your quilts?

I folded and packed up my quilts for QuiltCon today. Would you agree that there is something almost sacred about unfolding and folding a quilt? Especially when I am sharing a quilt with someone for the first time but even when I’m alone, the act of opening and closing a quilt whispers some sacred truth about the revelation of life’s moments and the hiding away of memory.

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Practically speaking, I don’t know of any sure fire way to avoid creasing all together but to avoid worn creases in the center of my quilts I never fold them in half. Instead I start by folding the corners of my quilt into the center on the diagonal.

15698693244_4765be16d8_oFrom there I fold the quilt in thirds

16135260047_a98d36edfb_oThen in thirds again.

16295186956_a14438d07a_oEach time I refold I try to change the diagonal slightly so that the creases never get a chance to settle in.

All of this folding reminded me of Bay Area performance/video artist, Surabhi Saraf and her FOLDed performances. Check this out!

How do you fold your quilts? Your thoughts, experiences or insights on the act of folding?

Posted in Art and Social Practice, Craft Therapy, Tools, Tips, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

2015 Focus ~ Listening

A few months ago I was on a date with someone who I quite liked. One of the first things he said to me was that nobody listened much anymore. I took that to heart and it stuck with me even though the relationship didn’t!

My intention for 2015 is to listen. Sounds simple but it’s not that easy, at least for me.

I am beginning first by listening to myself while I am listening to others. I notice that instead of actually listening to the person speaking I am often…

  • judging myself
  • judging the speaker
  • thinking how I should respond
  • trying to make a good impression
  • fixating on a particular outcome
  • feeling defensive
  • making the speaker wrong
  • looking for evidence on how I’m right
  • busy trying to protect myself
  • feeling self-conscious
  • trying to control the conversation so that it will go a certain way
  • trying to fix a perceived problem
  • thinking of advise
  • daydreaming and thinking about myself

I am by habit preoccupied with one or more of these things INSTEAD of simply listening to the speaker with out any other agenda. This is mind blowing!

I am noticing my preoccupations and my urges to interrupt, and I’m stopping myself. Suddenly people are opening up and revealing things to me. More importantly we connect on a deeper levelThey feel good, and I feel good. It’s really amazing. I’m able to understand situations and relationships with more clarity. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out.

Often I find myself not knowing what to say to someone and I feel awkward. Now I realize it’s because I wasn’t really listening. I’ve noticed that when I really listen there is no awkwardness or anxiety about what to say. The conversation unfolds easily, honestly, simply. People like being heard.

So my focus for 2015 is to listen, hopefully more than I talk. Not only will I be listening to others but I hope to employ the skill of listening in my creative practice. As the patchwork unfolds I will listen without agendas of planning, perfecting, judging, or pleasing. Instead I will allow the patchwork to show me what it wants to become.

I’m very excited about this revelation because it’s a New Year’s intention that I may actually be able to keep for a lifetime. Listening is fun!

Posted in Craft Therapy, My Creative Process, The Modern Quilt | Tagged , | 40 Comments

2014 Review ~ Acceptance

2014 was my year of acceptance. It began with this classic book by Tara Brach Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.

Turning fifty in March was an act of acceptance that couldn’t be denied. I celebrated with a pizza party at Adobe Books in San Francisco. Surrounded by friends from all over the Bay Area I felt for the first time that I belonged here.

Finishing twelve quilts for The Improv Handbook photo shoot in April required acceptance. Sometimes I wanted to do them over because I felt they could be better, but instead I had no choice but to accept all outcomes and move forward.

In July my book went to the printer to be born. Mostly I loved it but even after four revisions, the perfectionist in me still yearned to make improvements. Instead I came to terms with any “mistakes” and celebrated it’s completion.

My trip to France in August was nothing like I expected. As my original plans began to fall apart my vacation became dire until an elegant french woman befriended me on the beach in Brittany, took me to all the local sites, and invited me for lunches of fresh mussels, and lamb cutlets. The last minute solo trip through Paris yielded an unexpected innocent romance that sprouted in the Jardin du Luxembourg and flowered for three nights under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower!

Relationships in my quilts and in life often didn’t turn out the way I imagined or hoped. A couple of romantic relationships this year, turned out to be disasters of sorts, but in the end it was all okay. I have no regrets.

Three days after my return from Europe and an hour after one of these romantic relationships ended, I found out my brother-in-law killed himself. It was so hard and painful to accept this, but his death –this loss to my sister, nieces and nephews and to our whole family– was inescapable. At first I was angry at him and subsequently down on my own life quite a bit. BUT as I thought more about how much he suffered something shifted internally. His death became a sacrifice compelling me, even demanding me to accept everything in my life as it is now, otherwise I might as well end it all. What is the point if we can’t accept the blessing of all that life is, including the good as well as the bad, the triumphs and the failures. (And let me add – I did have plenty of amazing triumphs this year. I’m especially thrilled by all the opportunities I’ve had to teach, speak and share my knowledge and process with other quilt makers across the country.)

silverliningHis death liberated me from the burden of self-pity, regret and non-acceptance. For that I am eternally grateful – for the gift of his precious life and his death. This doesn’t erase my deep sorrow, only that with tragic loss there comes a blessing… the silver lining of vulnerability — of compassion, tenderness, patience, kindness, and love.

All in all it was a great year for me. Filled with accomplishments and maturity. I’m excited to see where this new found embrace of everything in my life will take me – and how it will manifest in my patchwork!

Posted in Personal Heritage, Reviews | Tagged | 24 Comments