Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rituals

I continue to work on the invitational "Rituals" piece. It is a large piece for me, so it is slow going by my usual standards. This is a smallish section.


You may remember that a year or so ago I was working on a large piece for an invitational show and became so frustrated I vowed that I was not going to do that again. "That" being make a quilt in a prescribed size and theme that was going to make me frustrated and unhappy with the outcome. So why am I doing this? I thought about it and decided that I needed to open my mind a little and try larger work as long as I could think it through, come up with something meaningful to me that could be effective at a larger size. I am also trying to make work that is personal and meaningful to me. This all ties into my 2012 word, "intention."

A small story that I hope isn't too sad or morbid. I know of a woman, who is about my age, who was recently diagnosed with a terrible kind of cancer that will almost surely kill her within the next year, give or take and depending on her response to some experimental treatments. She has an online journal that I read periodically and I think about how I would react. She is brave, matter of fact and very, very honest. She is packing her life, right now, with all the things that matter to her—family time, walks in the woods, books, music and friends. I hope I could face such a fate with the same seeming calm and determination. Reading her journal and thinking about what she is doing with the time she has, made me realize that our life is defined by the things and the people and the causes we love. And that is what whatever work we do should be about.

My ritual is making and sending valentines each year. It is not about valentines. It is about friendship and the delicate threads of connection. I make valentines, write letters and as I cut and paste and write and address envelopes I think about each person and what they mean to me. It is my heart I am sending and reconfirms the connection whether it is old and fragile, new and tentative or strong and tested. My piece has many hearts on it. At one point I thought I would stitch words into the background that referenced the messages that accompany the hearts, but decided instead to add the black stitching as a kind of representation of the complexity of small things that connect us to our friends—quirky, irregular, but in its entirety a kind of network of memory.

If my quilts become a series of "what I love" this one will be friends. I love my friends.

19 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post, Terry. It reminds me that I need to work at those connections. We are not friends of long standing, but I love you right back. Del
    PS The secret word for this comment is unglike! Love it!

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  2. absolutely. stunning.

    if you have to give a narrative with the piece when you submit it, you should include this post. it was extremely well written and really touched something in my personally, especially the part about the black stitching.

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  3. Yes, this story should be included in the piece. Long ago the Valentine was exactly what you send. A piece of one's heart that you sent to someone who you loved. Not only a sweetheart. A friend. A neighbor. A fellow blogger. Saying "you are part of my life".

    And, Terry, you are part of my life. Your stories are so moving and heartfelt. This one brought tears to my eyes and then a smile as I thought--well, I hope I could face life that way.

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  4. A nice story. A reminder to us all to think about the time we have and how we want to spend it.

    I like the background drawing and squiggles on the piece.

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  5. YOU have a beautiful heart, Terry. Thank you for sharing it and all your beautiful work.

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  6. Terry, I love the little squiggles in black that connect everything.

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  7. You final line in this post is so heartfelt and true. We need to cherish our friends and family each and every day! I love your idea of sending Valentines rather than Christmas Cards. I think you have the true meaning of Valentines Day.

    Your new piece is so intriguing I cannot wait to see it.

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  8. I am watching a 30-year-old woman slip away with a rare form of ovarian cancer. I don't know how she and the woman you mentioned manage to keep such a positive outlook in the face of such a grim diagnosis. I have always thought that love of friends was the supreme form of love because it is so pure.

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  9. Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me.

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  10. A beautiful post and a beautiful sneek peek. So often we let our lives become filled with minutae and forget what is really important - people we love. Your post reminds me to reach out more frequently to those than are dear. Thank you for always being such a bright spot in my day.

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  11. Love what you are doing so far, especially the quirky black stitching between and around the hearts. Thanks for sharing the story behind it. Can't wait to see the finished piece!

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  12. Aren't those connections the best? I really do look forward to seeing this piece in its entirety.

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  13. Thanks for sharing such an interesting information.

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  14. I just went through a serious surgery; a month in the hospital and 2 months in a rehab center and I have fallen in love again with my dearest friends. Without them I would have been depressed. I treasure every one of them. You have given me inspiration to make them Valentines cards also. Thank you.

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  15. Good post really nice!

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  16. thanks for the awesome post!

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