December 4, 2006

The quilt, a neighborhood metaphor

I am a member of the Wishing Quilt collective. We recently met for the second time - some to finish their first squares, others to begin their second. The goal is to make six quilts. To our first gathering, we each brought remnant fabrics, whole garments, and wishes. Several of the women had experience making quilts. Most of us had sewn before. One woman brought several books for inspiration. As a group we decided that each woman would stitch a 2' x 2' square and at the end of the day we would "pin them up." l: my 1st square (first iteration) r: mav's 1st square (ibid.) My square is inspired by Carl Hall's paintings of the Pacific Northwest and a summer trip to the Central Coast of California. A year ago, three other quilters and I enrolled in a course on the neighborhood landscape. The quilting practice reminds me of the neighborhood idea. Like a neighborhood, a quilt is the product of individual and collective action. Yes, a quilt can be made by an individual. But like barn raising, many quilts are made cooperatively and support positive reciprocity.

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