Today I drive west into the very familiar territory of western New York State. The car will be loaded with a dozen and a half quilts, two dogs and an overnight bag. Tomorrow I will present a ‘trunk show’ at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, where one of my quilts is hanging as part of their current ‘Quilts Art Quits’ exhibition. In the quilting world of speakers and programs, a trunk show indicates that the speaker will be bringing actual samples of quilts in addition to her presentation. The pile of quilts now folded on the table spans twenty five years.
There are so many stories embedded in each piece, energy of a lifetime woven into each design. I’ll talk a little about this, and about my nearly finished manuscript ‘Meditations of a Quilt-Maker’ that weaves many of these stories together. About how composing a quilt for me, captures the creative spirit of composing a life.
Taking each one down off the wall this morning, shaking it out, running my hands across each surface, and gently folding in preparation brought me back to this truth. I realize now how significant it is to have actual quilts in hand to share, how important it is to feel the soft visceral quality that can emanate from a something made with time and love. I sit here now surrounded by the stark bare walls that I began with here in this new home two years ago. It feels like an eternal return. A blank slate again that at the same time contains everything that is precious and truly colorful. Filling the walls with my quilts has felt like the most natural thing in the world to do. Not from vanity or even expediency. But from that place inside that yearns for another glimpse of the core in me that I keep coming back to.
It was a sweet Thanksgiving this year, prepared for and celebrated here in this home, shared with just a few, but no less significant for the heartfelt thanks we each expressed for being right here where we are. Returning today to the part of the world that always evokes home for me in the deepest way feels right too. I will visit with my parents, drive roads I could drive with my eyes closed, except I will be soaking up the familiarity with eyes wide open, celebrating this return too.
After my presentation I will return home to the view of a world that greets me each morning, another kind of eternal return, always different, infinite combinations of light and dark, always potent and full of promise.
I wonder if I’ll put the quilts back up where they had been living these past few years. Maybe it is time to fill these walls with something altogether new.