From a Common Thread to a Lady in Red!

Monday, April 21, 2008

My bad!

It has been a while - life has been busy. Besides the computer provider we have being a problem for over a week, I went on a lovely stitching retreat so I have not been in my studio much. But, I do have lots to share today!

Speaking of the Common Thread, there are two I would like to talk about today.

First, there is a project by Lesley Riley of Quilting Arts fame and Art Heart (her blog is listed on the left)....Lesley writes:

"Back in 2005, 25 amazing artists got together to do a Self-Portrait collaboration. We each created a journal that set our theme and was in a way, a self-portrait in itself. Mine was made of fabric of course and my theme was The Common Thread - the thread that binds all artists together. I sent a bag of 'threads' along with the book, asking each artist to incorporate one on their page. Many chose one of their own, others none. The beauty of a collaboration is in how each artists interprets the theme. As we worked over the years, even the concept of self-portrait became stretched and re-interpreted. Isn't any artwork a portrait or snapshot of the artist at any given time?"

Well, I just love anything that Lesley does so this has really peeked my interest. Here is a link to see a video clip of pages which are Lesley's and those that will compile her book. The Common Thread There is a list and links to the 25 artists who participated on Lesley's blog. I hope their art will inspire you, it sure does me!

The other kind of "common thread" I wanted to talk about is that which links us together as human beings and as women. I was fortunate this past week to go on a four-day stitching retreat in Tomball, Texas at the Quilter's Cabin (a fantastic quilting retreat facility recently built by Diane Anderson -picture on right). Besides the sharing of techniques and ideas related to crazy quilting and stitching, the fellowship was remarkable and I think I can safely say, blessed every person who attended in some way. I did not know most of those who would be attending this retreat, but came away with wonderful new friends and sore cheek muscles (facial cheek muscles!) from continuous laughing! If you have never been on a retreat - I definitely recommend it - it is food for the soul.

Here is Suzie (left) laughing whole-heartily, as Janet reminisces about an item of clothing from her past. And Pat (right) just told the best jokes and funny stories I have ever heard!

Now for those of you who are what I term "sane" quilters, you would perhaps be shocked at the paraphernalia that is packed along with a crazy quilting retreater. Would you believe there are only three people packed for a four-day retreat in this suburban? Here are Jan and Barbara happy that it is all in there at last!

Besides the occasional sewing machine (for piecing if preferred), there are packages of lace, fabric, beads, tools, ribbons, books, buttons, and just about anything you can imagine for embellishing their work. Besides visiting local quilt and beading shops, the crazy quilter on retreat will definitely scope out any resale or antique shops, Hobby Lobby, Joann's, Wal-Mart, etc in the area. We have even been known to find items of interest at hardware stores. This particular retreat we raided the local Spec's (liquor store) no, not for imbibing, but for their empty cigar boxes! In the picture above, you can see that we have an ample supply of "stash" spread in every direction. The lady in red (below), is Janet. She is just a beautiful lady inside and out that I just met on this retreat. One of the CQers found this red dress at a local resale shop covered with lace. Before she cut off all the lace for other use, Janet modeled the dress for us. It was a "small" and she was the only one who could come close to fitting in it - she had always wanted a sexy red dress and fulfilled that goal, even if only for a few minutes! The gorgeous award winning quilt on the wall behind her is a crazy quilt of hers. The other pictures are our group happily stitching and chatting and ready to go to "town" for dinner (minus me cause I'm taking the picture and another lady in the group who was out on a "date" with her husband that evening)

This next group of photos tells the story of a "fun" mishap. Our retreat organizer, Deborah (who did an amazing job!), had us put together what we term "squishes". These are gift exchange items from our personal stash. We had the exchange the second night we were gathered and each person did a show-n-tell of what they had received in their package. When it was Connie's turn she presented all the beautiful items until she came to a small bag of beads. She then began to study the bag curiously and just off hand said there were a couple of odd looking ones in the bag. Encouraged by the group to see what they were, she opened the bag and studied them more closely. When the light bulb went off as to what they were, her face was priceless. She then declared, "oh my gosh, they are naked ladies!" All of us had to take a look, of course, to confirm this and we just burst into laughter. Well, the lady who had given her the "squishie" was in another room talking on the phone and heard all the laughter. She quickly finished her conversation so she could come see what all the laughing was about. When we told her, she was just astonished and turned so red....she had no idea what the beads actually were, she had just picked them up because of their lovely color and texture. The beads are only about a half an inch tall so you can easily see why someone might not notice what they were. We all had the best laugh about the naked lady beads and they remained an endearing topic of conversation the entire weekend.

(photos left to right: Connie, Diana, naked lady beads)

In continuing posts, I will be sharing more and showing you some of the lovely work these
talented ladies shared at the retreat. It was such a pleasure to get to know them and see their unique and wonderful personalities just bloom as each day progressed and we became more acquainted. As my readers know, my weeks lately have been a bit over-extended and this retreat was just what I needed to lift me up and it was most difficult to say good-bye! Here are Suzie and Janet waving as we reluctantly inched out of the drive.
Last night was my regular bible study and as you know, we are going through Matthew this year. We were in chapter 26 looking at the upcoming arrest and crucifixion of Christ and His preparation for what He knew was God's plan for our salvation. So many things jump out at me as they never have before. Things like details regarding the Passover, the tender moments at the Lord's supper, Jesus' struggle with what was coming (His disappointment and sadness at knowing He would be betrayed and denied by His friends) and His prayers to His Father in the garden of Gethsemane (I mean, wouldn't you ask your parents if there were some other way to accomplish something other than go through what He knew was about to happen - and, as a parent, wouldn't you have another option for your child if there was one?) Yes, Jesus is divine, but He was also human; and to see the emotions that He experienced in His human condition are just heartbreaking. The amount of love and obedience that Jesus had/has is such an incredible example. I keep thinking what a shame I didn't slow down and feed on scripture more as a younger person - it is so powerful and strengthening and what He intends for us. I know God's plan is always going to be accomplished, but I do wonder if He is accomplishing His purpose through my cooperation or through my rebellion. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know which would be easier on me and bring me more joy.
Another thing that popped out at me as we discussed this lesson was the fact that the Lord's supper is not only in remembrance, but also in anticipation. Now, I have to admit that this one I don't always think about when I take communion, but how awesome! To remember Christ and His sacrifice for us, but also to know that He is waiting to sup at the table with us in His Father's Kingdom. What a wonderful thing to anticipate!

"But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom." Matt.26:29



CabinQuilter said...

Jules, it was a joy to have you all stay at the Quilter's Cabin last week. I've never been in the company of so many talented artists, all at one time, and I do believe I'm slowly being converted to the Crazy Side of quilting.
I look forward to your next retreat, and to see all of your incredible workmanship.
Diane in Texas

Karen said...

I do not do crazy quilting but my friend Karen does. She attended the retreat and suggested that I look at your blog. Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Your work is beautiful!

Creative Blessings of "J O Y" - by Templates para novo blogger