This I believe…
that sewing can patch where a generation gap often creates a hole. I have spent the past year taking lessons from my grandmother in the art of sewing. In the studio that stands behind her house I have learned how to create quilts, patterns, dresses, coats and memories too many to recount here. I have learned not only about life but about love, loss and all the things that go into making a life worth living and a quilt worth using. No subject is taboo in the studio, we talk about faith, marriage, having babies, our crazy family and the importance of fabric choice. We are years apart but I have found that at 26 I have so much to learn from her 77 years. I believe that all of this time together is a crucial part of understanding where I come from. There is heritage and family memories that aren’t necessarily in my genetics but are definitely a part of me just as each individual thread forms the whole quilt.
When I return home from a visit and sew up a dress or quilt in my own home studio. Which is really just a corner in my bedroom. I am reminded of all the time I share learning from grandmother. While I hope that I have many years left with her; I know that those years are numbered. I often wonder what she is doing as I sew and look at fabric without her. I wonder how it will feel when I know she will be gone and I’ll do this all alone, without her consult or affirmations. But as any artist knows the work lives beyond you as does the criticism and often the acclaim.
The same thread that weaves her and I together today will live on in the quilts and garments and in our children. My daughter is 18 months old and loves to spend time in the studio with us. I believe that someday I can pass onto her the lessons I have learned from our heritage through sewing. I will entertain her with stories about my grandmother growing up on the farm and making clothes for her five children, about me and how my seams made every quilt a bigger challenge than it should have been and how her great grandmother really lived life and taught me to do the same.
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