The following article is from Quilt for Change, an international organization that “raises awareness on global issues that affect women and empowers quilters to become agents for social change.” I am re-posting the original with the permission of the artist, Lynn Miller, who has also supplied a selection of exclusive photos for us!
Each thread, fabric, and every quilted stitch are words that I cannot express any other way. I use this language to bring us closer together and make us more aware of one another in the fabric of our commonality, a sisterhood of mothers and daughters.
Not so much art for art’s sake, but art to inspire the maturation of human consciousness towards openness, love, justice and the water sound in children’s dreams.
Therefore, my quilt is a petition that no one, woman and girl in particular, be deprived of their daily share of fresh water. Young girls are often required to shoulder these responsibilities at an early age. Throughout life, be it years of childhood, puberty and menstruation, child bearing or old age, water is crucial.
This quilt is a prayer said on behalf of women and girls all over the world. It is my prayer that this quilt will excite discussion and action.
Story about my quilt, Yearning for Water:
Nearly a week before I saw the Water is Life challenge, I woke up with an image of a quilt that seemed important to draw out before I forgot. It was an undulating circle of blue with small hands all around. When I came upon the Quilt for Change challenge, I immediately knew how to use that imagine. The blue circle is made up of clean, clear blues to indicate pure water. The hands, of many skin tones represent women of the world reaching for, yearning for fresh water.
To incorporate women and girls I created a variable nine-patch block. The women are in various stages of life and development, engaged in daily activities. For example: praying, dancing, reaching, stooped in old age and even pregnant.
The women are clothed in fabrics from around the world and are quilted with a swirl from head through torso confirming the flow of water in one’s body.
The gray background, quilted with water lines, is evidence of the plight of all who do not have access to fresh water. I used a russet framing for the women as an earthy dust or clay.
Although the majority of my quilts have been more traditional, this has opened up a new world for me. Each project since has allowed me to re-think the direction of my quilting. So many ideas, so little time!
We are a family of quilters. Grandmothers, aunts, moms, daughters and even granddaughters and grandsons have loved the creativity and excitement of quilting. As a retired first grade teacher, I am participating more and more in guild meetings, quilt shows and workshops. Throughout my 40 years of quilting, I’ve loved to create my own designs from traditional quilt patterns, and have more recently become fascinated by art quilts and modern quilts with their nod to combinations of fabrics, textures and decorative stitches. Currently, I operate a long arm quilting business called Chickadee Quilting. Aside from quilting tops for others, I also enjoy bringing life to an antique quilt or stack of quilt blocks found in someone’s attic. The most rewarding part in any quilting venture is collaborating with another quilter on her treasured work. Seeing the finished product inspires us to tackle the next project.
When I’m not quilting for myself or completing an order, I am a long arm volunteer for Quilts of Valor and our local quilt club’s service called Comfort Quilts. I have donated quilts to the Linus Project, and to local charities.
Entering the Quilt for Change/Water is Life challenge was my first such entry. It is such an honor to have had my quilt chosen and to be part of this magnanimous project. As I look at the accomplishments of the other quilters in this exhibit, I am humbled by the vast array of ideas and skills. I look forward to attending the opening of the exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum in 2017. Until then, I’ll keep quilting.
Lynn Miller, Chickadee Quilting
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
– Amelia Earhart