Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Peace Fibres

Nearly a year ago, Karen Lohn, a licensed counseling psychologist and fibre artist, stumbled upon my blog during an image search. She offered to pay for use of my images, but I fell in love with her mission and just asked for a copy of her book. People told me I was crazy for not taking the money offer and for trusting a stranger. For me, there is more to life than money and I've learned to simply trust my gut. Yesterday I  her book, Peace Fibres: Stitching a Soulful World, arrived in the mail. A detail of one of my quilts made the cover (the sun) and my quilt, History with No Memory, with part of one of my blog entries is on page 131. The caption reads, "In making a quilt about one of George Washington's slaves, Karen S. Musgrave battled her own dragons. Her blog quotes Stella Adler, "Life beats down and crushes the soul. Art reminds you that you have one.""

Can the very act of working with fiber serve as an avenue toward peace within an individual? This is the question that Lohn answers through a series of thoughtful essays. Serving as a transition from chapter to chapter and tying the book together are Threads for Thought, Connecting Activities and finally Projects. Between twelve chapters, Threads for Thought offers tiny bits of fibre trivia and inspiring questions. Especially poignant is Stitching Through Crisis a story of fibre, friendship, love, life and death. Have a tissue handy.

In Connecting Activities, Lohn has created a wonderful collection of self-care ideas and exercises. She explains that the activities are aimed to integrated mind, body and spirit. Even the questions she asks are thought-provoking like Which fibre characteristic best describes your temperament?    Recommends all kinds of activities including movies to watch. I have now added Threads of Hope, a Canadian documentary narrated by Donald Sutherland, about Chilean women who used their arpilleras in the struggle to find their husbands, sons and fathers who had disappeared. 

Projects offer wonderful suggestions for projects that can be done with family and friends from felting to fabric frames, twig figures to family crests, to batik and braiding.

I LOVE the quotes she choose to illustrate different points. Colors of Creativity begins with Lily Tomlin's quote, " I always wanted to be somebody, but now I see I should have been more specific." Humor always gets me. On the flip side, each chapters begin with a different faiths prayer for peace. Threads of Identity, begins with the Muslim Prayer for Peace, Ripping Out, Resilience has the Buddhist Prayer for Peace, Stitching Through Crises has the Baha'i Prayer, Peace and Yarns of Generativity has the Jainist Prayer for Peace and so on.

I also liked finding out about the different people and organizations making a difference with fibre like I Love a Parade, an organization employing women who are chronically homeless to create high-quality art from recycled costume materials donated by local theaters and parades.

There are seven pages of references, resources and credits at the back of the book. I was fascinated by Kathleen Jenks' website It has very interesting background information on myths and lore regarding fibre connections.

This book is full of wonderful, colorful photographs of art and people. Around the edge of each page in each section is a different colorful fibre! I love the photograph on page 155 of the African woman dancing with her caption "In my dream, soul mates from around the world join me in celebratory dance."

The book is available through her website for $29.99 plus shipping or through some bookstores. Ask yours to carry it. I am.

I am loving this book and am so grateful that I contributed in a small way.

Wishing you peace one stitch at a time and lots of inspiration wherever and however you can find it!

P.S. If you do buy the book, please let Karen know that I sent you. Thanks.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Karen,
    A million thanks for this lovely review of Peace Fibres! I SO appreciate your contribution and your endorsement. And, I am thrilled that you also love the book!
    All good wishes,
    Karen Lohn


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