Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Design Quilts -- Wayne's Challenge

Wayne Kollinger contacted me with a challenge. He said to answer the question: Why do I design quilts? After reading other responses to this question, I feel my answer is too simple, but here goes.

As a creature made in the image of my Creator, creativity is a given. Some say they are not creative, but everyone is, in different ways. For me, I have a love of color, geometry and the natural world. I see amazing design in man-made things, but the creations of God are even more amazing. He puts a swirl in a shell or a myriad of hues in a flower petal. He colors landscapes that take our breath away, and demonstrates all the elements of design in trees, rocks, even the tides. While a grove of pines may look haphazard to those of us who like to plant things in straight rows, His orderly designs create a beauty that our straight rows miss.

As a Christian, I am called to be like my Lord. Of course this is about righteousness and loving others, but it is also about using that same imagination, that seemingly wild and carefree abandonment to throw sunsets into the sky and fling wild flowers across a field.

Part of me wants order, so I foundation paper-piece and find satisfaction in perfect points and repetition of patterns. However, that part of me might come less from creativity and more from my efforts to control a tendency to a mild attention-deficit problem, or worse, that nagging voice that tells me I must conform.

I have done that — conformed to patterns and precision piecing. At first I didn’t know that I could do otherwise. Besides, I needed to learn the many techniques required to create a quilt. In imitation of my Lord, I am the same — sometimes a mere copyist. However, I am learning that God seldom repeats a technique. When I ask Him for help, His answers are never the same twice. Nor can I second-guess Him. From this, I have learned that creativity can be unique even though inspired by other things. I’ve also seen that there is value in steadfastness and predictability (making patterns, repeating designs), for me the fun begins when I have no pattern to follow and have no idea what comes next.

For some reading this, it will sound odd. Not everyone ties their spiritual life so closely to something as ordinary as a stash of fabric and a sewing machine. However, for me being creative is like breathing. I see quilt designs in everything from light switches to carpenters’ tools. The sad part is that I discovered all this so late in life. I will not live long enough to get everything from my head to the drafting wall, never mind into fabric, bound and finished.

Wayne, thank you for motivating me to think about this and record it. Your creativity is an inspiration. May you be blessed for doing what you do. Sorry, no photos. I’m on vacation and can offer only what has already been posted.


Quiltdivajulie said...

Beautifully written ... thoughtfully answered ... off to ponder my own response ...

Margo in Maine said...

I loved your write up...very is wonderful to recognize that our giftings are from the Lord...thanks for sharing...wonderful!!

Magpie Sue said...

Excellent post. And may I add "Amen."