Saturday, 30 May 2015

In Praise of Guardian Angels

It happened again: another crow has escaped, to live a new life elsewhere. Squawk On! – my replacement piece for Cassandra – has left Sweet Surprise and once again I am faced with a blank wall space to fill.

This time, I decided to make a guardian angel crow. I made the first Guardian Angel of Beginning Quilters last year, then gave her away to my niece who has taken up quilting recently. Guardian Angel Too would be replacement.   

I have long thought that there must be a guardian angel of beginning quilters. From the moment a person sees a lovely quilt and thinks, “Hey, I could do that!” the road is fraught with perils. Beginning quilters make every mistake in the book, yet many fall in love with their craft. I attribute this to the presence of guardian angels who hover over the sewing machines of beginning quilters, whispering encouraging words in their ears and sprinkling magic dust into their eyes so they only see the beauty, not the mistakes. By the time the magic wears off, the quilter is hooked, in love with fibre arts.

There must be a lot of guardian angels around, becuase there sure are a lot of quilters. This week I attended a quilt show in Parksville, here on the island. Although Parksville’s population is only about 12,000, the Parksville Quilt Guild has over 300 members, and the quilts were phenomenal. Here are a selection of those I enjoyed seeing: (to enlarge the photos for a better look, click on them)

beautifully appliqued and hand-quilted with thousands of tiny stitches. This is only one square in a full-sized bed quilt.

original design inspired by African fabrics
Fireworks -- a small art quilt painted with threads
Full sized bed quilt -- Original design inspired by the artist's upcoming 70th birthday.
Small diary quilt inspired by a workshop with Susan Schie

A beginning quilter's first quilt! (Guardian angels working overtime, I think!)

A modern quilt: the creator said she used every fabric in her stash that she loved. The result makes her "crazy happy" when she looks at it.
an art piece made with a fusion of silk fibres

As I was working on Guardian Angel Too, I mused on the many blankets of love I’ve made, and the many art pieces created with fabrics and other fibres. Then the truth hit me: the guardian angels that have encouraged me in my 20+ year journey are not ethereal, mystical beings at all – they’re actually real life, flesh and blood folk. There’s a long line of guardian angels in quilting history: pioneer women who of necessity pieced together little fragments of fabric to warm their families, yet made the quilts as beautiful as they could to keep up their spirits; men and women behind the quilting revival in the 70s, whose passions and skills inspired me when I was younger; people in my own life who encouraged my work and cheered me on, who taught me sewing skills and saw only the potential, not the shortcomings.

This piece is a tribute to all the guardian angels who helped me, encouraged me, taught me, and cheered me on. Whatever skills I have, I attribute to you, guardian angels: my mentors, friends, family,  teachers, fellow guild members and more. Thank you.

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