This weekend, I attended a quilt conference; five YEARS had passed since the previous one in this area of the Rockies. It was humbling, to see the love in the room: of the craft, of the art and also the love between all of us who share the same passion.
It was amazing to see the presentations from the various guilds and of course the heart stopping beauty of the quilts themselves. In the room, we all became emotional hearing about the quilters who had passed on--it had been five years after all. We noticed how much we had all changed.
What hasn't changed and probably never will, is the debate: Should quilts all have labels with the name of the maker, the year, the reason for it being made?
In terms of historical records, labels make life so much easier and introduce us to the needle workers and why they committed their time, energy and money to this worthy endeavour.
Quilts are no longer made while fearing an upcoming Canadian winter. I have touched antique quilts where the hand stitching became longer in a rush to get the quilt on the bed before the wind started to howl and the snow buried the cabin. The woman (or girl) who made the stitches touched my heart as if there weren't one hundred years or more separating us. She was real and her needlework was in my hands, but I didn't know her name. Her life story was a mystery.
Please don't roll your eyes, but I don't label my quilts. I make them with love, send them off to the recipients and repeat the process. My side of the debate isn't a popular one, but I want to give you my reasons. My Subscribers are a cherished group and I always tell you folks the truth, no matter what.
My quilts are BUSY. They have work to do! Some are made to be a buffer between the recipient and a violent, broken world. Some are made to hold a person as they navigate the path of serious illness. Some are made to comfort someone nearing the end of their life, the quilt wrapping them in love until they leave this world and enter the next.
My quilts shouldn't be a statement of, "Look what Lori made!" They should just say, "I love you", with no more explanations.
When a quilt goes from one person to another, NEW memories should be made. The fabric that soothed someone who was ill can transform itself into a quilt that will then travel to every family picnic at the beach, the fibres becoming infused with laughter. The joys and sorrows of life become interwoven in each stitch, the longer the quilt is in use.
It is my dream that every quilt I make will do whatever is required: give comfort and warmth as needed. Years later, to be an integral part of a family picnic, or perhaps nestle on the grass for someone to curl up on in the shade of a leafy tree to read a book.
Thank you for spending this time with me,