This last week several people I know in the quilting world have lost loved ones, and with the loss of Robin Williams (whose Mork and Mindy show was set in Boulder), I've been thinking about how precious and unpredictable this life can be.
This is why many of us make quilts, right? I know so many quilters who are diligently working through their list of children and grandchildren, to make sure everyone has an heirloom handmade by Grandma. Whoever receives those quilts knows that every stitch is full of love, and that love will be there several generations from now when descendents appreciate these textile treasures.
Others of us are busy putting our hearts and souls into a different type of quilting - the kind that expresses an idea or emotion in a work of fiber art that can hang on someone's wall. Some quilt artists use a photo of a family member, or an event that has affected their lives, as a theme for these works of art.
When I travel across the US, or to other countries, I am always keeping an eye out for vintage or ancient works of textile art that have managed to survive the decades or centuries, and still express an idea or emotion from the past. The threads that connect us in these moments are sometimes astonishing. A couple years ago I hired a car for a one-day tour of the local non-touristy treasures of the Cotswolds in England.
In Chipping Campden we stopped to go into the St James church, and my guide showed me the Medieval embroidered tapestry that was in a glass case and covered by curtains in a back corner of the building. (Something I never would have found on my own.) Afterwards we went to the Court Barn museum and gift shop on the grounds, and met an American lady volunteering there for the summer. As we chatted, we discovered that her home in the US is 10 minutes from mine! She had an equal passion for antique textiles, and later that fall when we had lunch in Boulder, she told me more about that ancient tapestry. Chipping Campden is known for being the home of the Arts and Crafts movement, founded by William Morris.
William Morris has been one of my greatest inspirations as a designer and artist.
So our travels around the world, and in life, often lead us back home...and to our sewing studios.