Sunday, September 8, 2013

crafting freedom

There are times I have found myself bemoaning the fact that I lead a double life, that I can't make my crafty/creative interests part of my work life. My PhD is in Folklore, and material culture was one of my areas of study back when I was in grad school...so it could be otherwise...could have been otherwise...but I have found my academic home in an English department, where other parts of my training are relevant, and my own research keeps me focused on print and performance, rather than fabric, thread, and yarn.

There's one exception, a project I worked up with an old friend, an Art Ed prof-turned-senior school department head at a prestigious girls' school.  

During a series of classroom visits with her grade 9 art students last Winter and Spring, I taught the girls to do English paper piecing, culminating in three themed quilts which I squared off, basted, quilted, and bound. 

There's so much to say about this experience; it will have to wait for another day, another post (or posts), or (most likely) an article.  This was the one period of time I have been able to blend my realities, to be both teacher-researcher and (in this case) a quilter.  It was deeply satisfying...but it also left me with little drive to quilt in my own spare time...at least temporarily.

Two of the quilts were hung in the school last week. I'm looking forward to reports about the girls' reactions. I tried to warn them about the major perspective shift that happens when a quilt comes together...it's that magic quilt alchemy, and they will be experiencing it for the first time. The thought makes me happy!



 

So no bemoaning today!  I feel lucky: lucky to have and to love my job.  And I'm lucky to have rich, rewarding, stimulating hobbies...that word sounds so trite, but maybe it's worth embracing. I loooooooove my hobbies!

And when I put the last stitch on the binding of the 3rd quilt a week ago, I suddenly felt...free!  Quilting time is now my own again. It is beautiful because it is not work, not evaluated, not required. 

With joy and a feeling of abandon, I whipped up a baby quilt for a woman I have never met, one of my husband's coworkers.



 





And a few days later I found myself raiding the stash again -- just like the good ol' days -- cutting up some treasured fabrics (Bloomsbury Gardens from Liberty Lifestyle), just as the inspiration hit and with no set goal in mind. (More on that project soon. I'm very excited about it!)

Pulling, combining, squinting, refining, slicing and stacking...it was lovely and reminded me of what I find so wonderful about this craft.  If only I could distill that feeling and make it into a happy pill...

...but wait: if you're reading this, you probably have the ingredients at hand!  Go take your happy medicine, for goodness sake!

xxx



 

2 comments:

Little Island Quilting said...

I agree with your sentiment!

Nic said...

These quilts look great. Bet the kids were thrilled