Quilting a Pilgrimage

For over five years I’ve intended to start a hands-on project – one that doesn’t involve a keyboard.  Too often I’m focused on reading, writing, planning, and thinking – mostly in front of a laptop.  So, even before my dissertation was finished, I started a project to create five small landscape quilts related to each of the pilgrimages included in the research. These would be visual images recreated in fabric that I would choose, feel, cut.  A tangible product that would get me out of my head and away from a screen.  I could picture the final quilts hanging on my wall and as illustrations in a book about these journeys.  I had the story in mind; getting there has been the challenge.

Yes, it’s been five years.  Fabric still waits in a basket on top of a bookcase.  Many things have happened in the intervening time, but not much to engage that mind-hands interaction.  My excuses are many:

  • Unscheduled days don’t appear in the calendar.
  • I’m unsure of what to do.
  • I’ll make a mistake.
  • I’ll never finish.
  • This is a waste of time.

So the basket has remained closed.

Recently I met a woman who creates landscape quilts and thought that she could spur my latent interest.  I reached out and spent over an hour at her house looking at fabric and learning some basic techniques.  After sorting through the fabric scraps she gave me, I added them to the basket, saving it up for that perfect day.  Yet, I remained afraid to step out into the unknown space of working on this quilt.  Would I keep the possibility stored away, or do something about it?

I had the story I was working towards and now at least one other person with me on this journey.  So, I eventually I took the basket down and read some how-to books.  I was in the preparation phase of the pilgrimage, gathering the necessary equipment to bring along – pins, fabric, scissors.  I started by first creating the canvas.  I like that.  I’ll be working on a canvas just like an artist.  The first hours, though, were a bit of a failure.  But I had started.  I’d stepped into a place where I’m moving towards the final destination of completing these quilts. It seems a long way off, but there is hope – and I think I’ll learn much along the way.

Categories: Pilgrimage Sharings | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Quilting a Pilgrimage

  1. nm

    Rethink calling your attempts a failure. Part of creativity is exploring and working through the process!

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