Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Every Person is a Philosopher Blog and Sticks and Stones

Yesterday I was a guest blogger on Chicago's Neighborhood Writing Alliance's blog, Every Person is a Philosopher. I am deeply honored to have been asked and thrilled to be able to share my story. This was a great exercise for me and I am going to use it to begin writing a book.

Ira Lavinrenko with her quilt, The Woman
Feel the fear and do it anyway. That is exactly what I did when I accepted the invitation to present a paper and teach at the Third International Textile Symposium in Tbilisi, Georgia (Eurasia) in 2003. After all, my life’s mission is to change the world for the better with quilts. My quilt workshops were such a success, with nearly every student finishing at least one small quilt. I found out at the closing ceremonies that this was very rare. I also was able to form the Georgian Quilt Group. and I promised to support the group with supplies and return trips. I have made four additional trips so far, and I plan to return again next year.

When I asked the women why the making of quilts seemed to resonate with them, I got a variety of answers. For some, it was working with the colorful fabrics that I shared (colorful cotton fabrics just are not available in Georgia). For others, it was my enthusiasm that won them over. For others, it was the learning of a new skill. And for all, it was an opportunity to be together in the creation of art. Each time I have return to Georgia, in addition to teaching the quilt group and others, I work with locals to create programs that empower women and children to learn new skills and earn much needed income. (Two examples are a quilting project in an orphanage, and another with street children.) I do not teach “American” quilts, instead I teach techniques so that my students can share their own unique point of view/story. I love learning about cultures and want my students to embrace theirs...

To read more go to Every Person is a Philosopher. If you do, please leave a comment of support not for me, but for including quilts on their blog. Thanks!

As you can see, I have been working on my sticks and stones quilt which I am now titling Sticks and Stones and a Crow's Gift of a Bone. If you read my blog last summer, I had a great relationship with a female crow who gifted me a bone. It's always interesting to me how my work evolves. When I did the bent stick on top of another stick, as I had drawn it in my crude sketch, it just didn't work so I undid the applique and tried again. I also had the stick side five inches wider, but the scale felt off to me. I continue to love the process.

I plan to quilt the stone side like a Zen raked garden. While I like the bone, it seems too white to me so I might try to tone it down by tea dyeing it or I may redo it in another fabric. I have some other ideas so I see a series in my future. I am also happy to report that I no longer have the saying stuck in my head.

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