I attended an Art Salon at Earthspirit‘s Feast of Lights this year, where Kate R. Greenough, a member of the community, described her art process of doing a drawing a day. She’s been at it for nine and a half years. I admire that kind of dedication. I’ve done that myself, in part through the documented daily practice of tai chi a while back (which I gave up in 2016). But I’ve never really done it for a dedicated art practice, until fairly recently.
I’ve decided to produce a quilt this year, possibly several, after making a commitment to turn on and use my sewing machine every day that I’m home this year. My goal is to produce a daily “record square” made of scraps from recent projects. The goal is to produce a quilt deliberately assembled of bits and pieces from all the projects that I work on during the year — maybe not elegantly assembled, perhaps… my partner has looked askance at some of my design choices (accidents, maybe?) in how I assemble the bits and pieces. But in these recent squares, you can see some of my projects like Ursus the stuffed bear, and his partner Ginkgo, some of my recent zippered bags, and all those mead bottle bags. There’s even some scraps from making a specialized type of Japanese bag called a kinkachu.
I won’t necessarily remember all of the projects that I made in five or ten years when I’m sleeping under this quilt — maybe not the individual projects, nor who bought what project through the Etsy site, nor even what the individual bags and items were made or used for, whether on-spec or on commission.
But I like the idea of being wrapped, someday, in a record of my sewing efforts, and being able to display it to people, and say …there is not one piece of fabric in this quilt that isn’t a scrap left over from some other project. This represents kimono and haori, Christmas stockings and gift bags, housewarming presents and sets of napkins, bags for game pieces and dice, bags for tarot cards and geomancer’s wands, belt pouches and wallets. It represents gifts small and large, baby quilts and stuffed animals, clothes and costumes for festivals and feasts and rituals, banners and ballgowns and baskets.
In a word, it represents practice. Or maybe work. Or maybe love.
Sometimes in the world of sewing, it’s all three.