Saturday, February 21, 2009

What Have You Lost? Journal Quilt


You will arrive

at a point
when you realize
that you have been missing
from most of your life ...

You will search ...

and you will find
pieces that fit together
and pieces
that aren't there

someone took them from you
without the permission
you never knew you had

you will glue the pieces together
and the cracks will leak
you will break open
fall apart
and I will help you
find you

we will wait till May
and dig a hole together
bury the pieces you have
and don't have

and I will lie
next to you
on the ground
until you grow
--Andy Young, in What Have You Lost

Andy Young (She's a woman--It just didn't work in my mind when I thought of this poem written by a man.) wrote this poem called "Sister." It appeared in an anthology edited by Naomi Shihab Nye called, What Have You Lost?

This poem hit me like a ton of bricks when I first read it, and I knew that one day, I would spell it out in fiber and stitch. My friend Sandy was this kind of Sister to me. How many days did we spend sitting out on the dock at Cherokee Marsh .. laughing, walking, canoeing, supping, crying ... quiet times, too, just being together.

She helped me pick up the pieces after many a broken heart. She helped me plant them, and stayed right by my side to watch them grow into something strong and beautiful. She taught me to stand up for myself. She made me understand and believe that I was a worthy person, not a doormatt.

Sandy died unexpectedly 2 months before my son was born. It's been 8 years now, and I still miss her ... I am the person I am today because I knew Sandy. I have not forgotten you, my Friend. Now it's my turn to help someone else pick up the pieces ...

Detail of the shattered pieces at the root of the tree.

The page from my notebook, holding the idea until I could make it real ...

Someone recently gave me a set of "trade blocks" (You make a set of blocks along with everyone else in your group. Then you trade so everyone has a complete set - one of everyone else's blocks.) One of the blocks had this green and blue tree painted on it. It looked a lot like the trees I tend to draw ... It was a kick-start to make this project happen.

Techniques : It's a small journal quilt. Journal Quilts are not necessarily meant to be beautiful. They are usually small works (9x11 inches, or so) to try out a new technique, or in this case, work out a spiritual quandry. This one is in the spirit of the Diary Quilts by Susan "Lucky" Shie.

I put excerpts from Andy Young's "Sister" poem in the background.
Sandy's words of wisdom over the years are in the branches of the tree.
I added the ground and the shattered soul pieces in the roots of the tree.
In that womb of earth, the pieces are safe enough, warm enough, close enough to pull together and regenrate into something new. Stronger. Self-assured.


Vicki W said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend!

goodworks1 said...

Wow! Very nice! The quilt fits so well with the poem and your experience...