Taking Up Space (Do The Work)

Taking Up Space (Do the Work)

There is so much to say about this quilt. I have tried writing about it many times and the words never seem like enough. That is why it’s a quilt and not an essay– it’s as much an act of becoming as it is a message of my hands to myself and to others. Some ideas and feelings don’t need to be words, they need to be things. Some need to be acts. The acts make the things. The acts can help find the words. But the words are not enough. These words will not be. But words are important. I will do my best. (What a fitting metaphor for this moment in history.)

I made a quilt entirely by hand. It’s 56” tall and 71” long, enough to cover my shoulders and toes. It took me four years from beginning to end (I sewed the first seam in a class taught by Heidi Parkes at Quiltcon in February 2016), though there were long stretches of time when I did very little work. Ninety percent of the work happened between November 2018 and May 28, 2020. That was when I focused and committed to making every part of the quilt by hand. I still wasn’t sure that I could, but that was the goal.

It turns out that I could, and I did. This is “Taking Up Space (Do the Work).”

The last thing that the world needs right now is another white woman taking up space, but the act of stitching showed me that I need to dedicate time and space to my own self-analysis, to sit with uncomfortable thoughts and ideas and interactions; to find the truest way to express and embody my beliefs; to accept that I am flawed and imperfect; to make ideas into meaningful action. To find words. Then I can be a more focused and productive member of this very broken society.

More to come.