Last weekend I decided to tackle my closet and get rid of old clothing that either doesn’t fit, it’s worn out, or it’s a size I will NEVER be again. I actually enjoy this task. My closet gets a make-over, I can donate things that are still in good shape, and sometimes I find things that I forgot about. Tucked away in the corner of my closet were 2 old quilts that I had completely forgotten about. Made by my great-grandmother and great-aunt, they were given to my mother, who in turn gave them to me over 30 years ago. Back in my 20’s, when I received these beautiful quilts, I was NOT sentimental, nor was I into “vintage”. I did not recognize the beauty and the history that these quilts represented. Thankfully I hung on to these priceless gems and have learned about their lives and mine through looking back at history and how we are all connected.
Have you found a forgotten treasure on your quest to organize?
I have a new found love of quilts. They provide clues to the past, are timeless treasures of art – never meant to be forgotten. Quilts provide warmth, beauty and value and are an important part of American Folk Art. My quilts, made by my great grandmother and great-aunt, were made during the 1930’s. Those were lean years in America. The Great Depression, debt, drought, dust storms, and unemployment. People simply did not have the money to buy blankets, so the women(my great-grandmother, and great-aunt) relied on their own skills and resources, saving bits and pieces of material from clothing and other blankets and “making do” were common practices for frugal quilters during those difficult years. Recycling fabric and scraps that might go to waste. I am struck by my great grandmother’s thrifty, and self-sufficiency while still using her artistic expression and creating her own legacy with her quilts. They help us remember women’s history with pride and passion. Regardless of the design a women chose, all quilts had the same basic meaning. Looking at a quilt is like reading a history book. Its needlework contains words of wisdom, imagination, joy, sorrow, life, death, friendship and love. If only we could read between the tiny stitches what stories they would tell. I wonder if my great-grandmother and great- aunt knew their quilts would still be around long after they were gone?
Do you have a passion or hobby that you can pass down to your children and grand-children?
I can’t wait to pass this on to my daughter, who will in turn pass this onto her daughter. What is life, but a crazy quilt? Making quilts were the core of a women’s life, encompassing her passions, attitudes, beliefs and spirit. Just like in life, those painstaking hand stiches were performed with patience and a commitment creating a handiwork of a beautiful masterpiece. The scraps of fabric represent fragments of our lives, which is a thing of beauty. The seamless stitching together of life, work and art through the thread of divine order.