Ideas (and a bit of advice)…

thomas-knauer-sews-clusterfuck

Life is a weird thing; it is full of complications and comprises. Just as you think you have a grasp on it, or at least its trajectory, it finds a way to shift the paradigm. As much as I’d like to say I’ve finally started making sense of my life, I must admit it remains a complete clusterf*ck in more ways than I can count.

I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who would honestly say this; honestly I’d be a bit worried about anyone who wouldn’t. This reality is precisely why I think the modern quilting movement matters right now. I see it as an approach that strives to find something essential in the act of making quilts, an approach that is not just hobby but a resonant reflection of the maker’s life.

That calm that so many quilters speak of when they are making is more than an escape, it is essentially a meditative practice, a space for reflection and examination, a place for coming to terms with one’s life. As such quilts are imbued with the ordinary struggles of life, and my understanding of modern quilting is that we are looking for paths to make that vital connection more explicit, to tap into the intimacy of quilting to make meaning in our life rather than escape it.

I generally shy away from the moniker of artist; there is so much baggage attached to that term, and so much misperception of what the practice might entail. But right now I am deeply grateful to be part of profound art-making tradition, to have the ability to turn to making to process, make sense of, and speak about my life. I am also grateful to be finishing my book this week, giving me the space to begin some new work at precisely the time I need to the most.

So, why am I writing this? Well, I am generally loathe to give advice, but this morning I feel compelled to do just that. Be thankful for your practice as a maker, but do all that you can to insure that it is yours. Follow the ideas where they lead, whether the ideas be big or small. Do not underestimate the power and value of your practice; I’m willing to bet it is far richer and more resonant than you have ever realized. It is from within that clusterf*ck that the most meaningful ideas arise. Stand up and fight for your practice if you must, but make sure to take time to sit down and make.

-t

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