Archive for January, 2009

The Making of a Protest

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Hi Bev.

I’m behind, so this protest quilt has to come together quick. Thankfully, I’m the sort of woman who gets worked up about injustice on a daily basis. I think we can all agree that there are plenty of things to protest in this world from wars and bungled laws like the  Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to unreasonable bosses and parking spot stealers. From the serious atrocities to minor annoyances, it will be fun to stitch out some of my issues. Come to think of it, I think the world would be a much better place if all world leaders stitched. President Obama, I’m available if you need an International Ambassador of Craft.

Cheers,

Jennifer

A long lost stitcher returns… Well, sort of.

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Hi Bev.

Your Green Man turned out amazing and your protest quilt looks fantastic. Unfortunately, my protest quilt is still an idea in my head. In an almost ridiculous turn of events I’ve been dealing with the whiplash worries that are becoming quite common for print journalists here in the United States.

Fearing that I would be downsized after Christmas, I took on extra work including a couple unpaid craft-related opportunities to promote CraftSanity and then a paid commission request to make another fart quilt. (Seriously, this is not a joke.) Then, only when I found myself completely overloaded with work, I came to realize that my job will be around longer than I anticipated. Of course, right?!

So, now I’m too busy to craft as much as I want to and feeling a tad cranky about it. Some days, when I’m forced to walk past my stash of embroidery floss, it’s difficult not to growl. I just want to stitch. That’s all.

The good news is that I’m in the perfect frame of mind to work on my protest quilt once I get the binding on that fart quilt. Can you believe my first commissioned quilt would be flatulence-related? Life sure is entertaining and truth is so much more entertaining than fiction.

Things will settle down soon. I refuse to live a life that doesn’t  involve appropriate amounts of time spent stitching with my daughters. I need that creative time with them.

My apologies to your and our readers for lagging behind. I will catch up as soon as I can.

Cheers,

Jennifer

Pearls of wisdom, beads of hope, threads of tradition…

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

They say they’re coming out of Gaza. The protest quilt is done, a white-hot quick flash — like the news of this war as a flash amidst all the other themes in the news these days: gloom and hope, change and crumbling systems, and this flash of conflict against the always-looming dark clouds of the Middle East. Like I said, I don’t pretend to understand it.

I finished an amazing novel today. In the Skin of a Lion. The kind of novel that had me sitting at a cafe table longer than I intended in the 35-degree heat, clenching and unclenching one hand on the empty table (my plate long-gone), reading out the last few pages. Impervious to office boys in suits, yakking close at the next table. Close the book with a deep sigh.

It’s probably the sixth time I’ve read Michael Ondaatje’s book, but I keep hazy memories of it every time — only an image here and there (the men off to work in the dark morning; the red dog, August; sleeping amongst mushrooms in Italian darkness; the blue man on the roof). Beauty, sorrow, violence and pain — the feelings I had while I was stitching that Protest quilt — they’re all there in the book.

Somehow the heart glows amidst militarism; sometimes it’s spiky. We walk large in the skin of the brave lion; we become something else; we are small and we slip through – to dance, defiant.

What do I protest about?

Monday, January 19th, 2009

There are so many things to protest about.

- clearing forests, burning rainforest, laying waste to land

- landmines, injustice and totalitarianism

- apathy. About the real environmental cost of what we buy. Apathy about labour conditions for factory workers. About water use and food crises. Apathy is the worst of all.

I was going to make a quilt about apathy. The design was partly worked out, and the core meaning was absolutely clear to me: “Live your life with your brain on. Look and see. Now don’t just lie there, eating and buying stuff — do something!”

However small a contribution, actions and caring blast apathy out of the water.

But something else started to happen, and my quilt became a different thing. As I laid out your package of fabrics on the desk, Jennifer, I was listening to the radio. And there were missiles falling in the middle east again: Israel and Gaza: Gaza and Israel.

Some of my childhood memories are of the half-understood news of these kinds of conflicts. Images on the news at night, Israeli women soldiers, young, bombs in streets, families — and there’s me, living a sheltered and happy life in a quiet part of the world. Not guilt, but horrid fascination. Awareness of how things could have so easily been different: I could have been born in Afghanistan, the middle east, Angola, Cambodia — one of any number of countries ripped by wars I don’t, and won’t understand, in the years since I was born.

So this quilt became a record of anger, dismay and concern. Not understanding. A complete failure to understand why war is what happens. I stitched while the news reports came in, and finished as the land invasion began. My quilt is finished, but it’s not over – not for anyone on the ground in these cities, families and friends of local people, and anyone who is concerned, not apathetic about war in our world.

Bev

What do we want? A protest quilt!

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

- When do we want it?

NOW!

The protest packet

Just last week, a protest was under way in Melbourne, and I heard that age-old rally cry. What do we want? Fair Pay! When do we want it? NOW!

It seems that there’s a lot to protest in our world, and fitting that I should be doing it on New Year’s Day. Sewing up a storm, stitching the world with the protest packet you sent me, this quilt lept through my hands and into the sewing machine, and it’s almost done already, only 48 hours later.

 

What’s that you say? You want consistency? (A slow quilt, a quick quilt… will she ever get this right?) 

Sorry – quilt a-coming through! I hope your TV craft spot goes well and that you can join me over here where I’m a one-woman, craft-mad protest chick.

What’s it all about?

Tell ya tomorra!

Bev