I sit with piles of scraps, gathered from many places, some beautiful and some down-right ugly. Two at a time they are joined together to make a pair, this pair is joined to other pairs and so on. Slowly a pattern emerges. The attractive bits and the ugly are all joined together to create a beautiful work of art. Even the undesirable pieces have added depth and color that would be missed had they not been included.
This process is slow and goes against my natural inclination. Many hours are required to cut, sew, trim, press and sew some more. I am forced to slow down. I cannot skip a step or rush the process. If I am patient and follow the rules, I will see the design appear, the beauty revealed and will have a project to be proud of.
Since working on my own designs, quilting has become a prayer and a working out of an inner struggle. Issues weighing heavily on my heart are worked out in fabric and thread when they cannot be worked out in the mind. How do I come to grips with the injustices in this world? When there is so much pain, what can I do? I can make a quilt. I can express my desire for justice, peace, hope and joy through my quilting.
In the process of sewing the many dark pieces together, prayers are offered up for those living in dark places where it is difficult to see the light of God. A sun rising and a bird in flight reflect the prayers for hope and renewal and freedom. While waiting years for a family to arrive safely from their war-torn country, brick by brick a home is built in fabric. Each stone representing a petition offered up for safe passage and provision. A nest full of eggs is added to the rubble filled street I have created, symbolizing my prayers for new life and hope coming out of this place of destruction.
According to Biblical tradition an altar is a place where sacrifices are made and gifts are offered up in worship. My altar is my sewing machine where the sacraments of fabric and thread become symbols of my worship. What some might consider a hobby is in reality so much more. Coming to my altar I offer my creative abilities, prayers, longings and my very self as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
(Watch the video below to hear more about the story behind one of my quilts)