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Love for the generations

by Lisa VanGalen 12 months ago in art
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Simple tools can do so much

Love for the generations
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It started out innocently enough. What could possibly go awry on a road trip? Looking back, it all began with that one simple question from a friend -- “I want to check out this cool fabric store. Want to come with me?” And down the rabbit hole I went. From that one trip, a good friendship became a great one. More stores, more fabrics, more thread and notions, bobbins and patterns. The choices are never-ending. And the colours. There is so much inspiration to be found in each store. And every designer challenges us to bring out the best in our attempts at duplicating the perfection displayed around the globe.

Did I mention the magazines? Oh, and the books. Those collect like wildflower petals, gathering in undusted corners and threatening to spill out from under the carefully selected swatches destined for future greatness. At least that is the theory.

The reality is, I have no chance of using up the fabric I already have. I cannot possibly complete all of the projects I have already fallen in love with. Yet my addiction drives me on. One more store. One more bolt. One last pattern. And every single quilter has their favourite pair of scissors. Just ask them what happens when an errant family member picks that pair up to cut paper with. (The result is never pretty.)

What I have discovered on my journey is that it is often the company that makes the activity so enjoyable. Friendships blossom with the shared interest, leading to more trips and challenges and visting new towns to see quilts by other artists hanging in shows. Inspiration comes in so many forms and the delight on the faces of the people witnessing the talent of others helps keep you learning and growing in the art.

Ask any quilter which project is their favourite. It is almost always the one they just finished. There is so much joy to be found in creating a gift that will bring a smile to a child's face or comfort the elderly in times of sorrow. The warmth comes not just from the quilt itself, but from the love contained in every stitch. These works of art are not simply a “blanket” or a “comforter”, they are a physical representation of the creator, imbued with their intention and thoughts. It's not some mass-produced, perfectly crafted, identical to its neighbour, everyday bed-covering. It is love, all sewn up and passed from person to person.

Quilters are some of the most generous people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. The pressures on the world at large spotlighted a need that had individuals step forward and give their time, their efforts, and their precious stash of fabric to fill demands for masks and gowns for hospitals and care homes when the manufacturers simply could not do enough. And the giving has not stopped. Before the pandemic, the quilters I know would create and giveaway quilts for children in hospital, for elderly patients in the war with Alzheimer's, for the homeless struggling to make ends meet on our streets. And still, they do not stop. Veterans, women's shelters, hospice care, and countries ravaged by natural forces all receive handmade quilts, created and given with as much love and care as can be packed into each small bundle.

Standing in front of my wall of bins and boxes, ideas swirling, images shifting and flowing, I reach for the pattern one more time. A smile creases my cheeks as I pick up my favourite scissors (don't even think about touching them), and begin. It's not just 'another project'. It's a passion. And as the metal shears the cotton, my love binds the pieces together, beginning the spell to be woven into the very creation of a gift to be cherished for generations to come.

art

About the author

Lisa VanGalen

I am a panster by nature, discovering my characters as they reveal themselves. To date, my novel writing has involved the paranormal or magick within a more familiar setting, blending it with mysteries, police procedurals, or thrillers.

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