For one thing, due to the fact that I was teaching there wasn't quite as much time to make quilts as I'd had before.
On the other hand, getting in touch with the refugees and finding out about their lives and problems gave me a totally different perspective. I still dearly love making quilts. I just like sitting at the sewing machine (or hand-stitching), feeling the fabric, handling different colors and patterns and touching tiny bits and sorting them by shade and size and potential partners... it is a perfect way to stay out of the world. And I still want to enter calls for entry, perhaps sell a quilt every once in a while, if possible. It was a really nice feeling to be working during the textile art symposium in May and know that the result of that week's work would be paid for, and displayed at a prominet place in town. So making quilts is still a favorite activity of mine. But I may not be making as many art quilts any more as I have been. Yes, they are fun to make. Yet I have very much enjoyed making the 'traditional' blanket (traditional as in functional, something to snuggle up and stay warm with) as well, and when I gave them as presents the appreciation sometimes seemed much higher than when I put something on the wall. So somehow it has become more important to me to get my quilts out there, to have them seen AND used rather than trying to sell them because they are art. A different kind of self-evaluation, I guess.
For several years I have been donating small quilts for the SAQA Benefit auction - this year's is currently still on in its third section - and I also had donated one this year. However, I was so early in sending it off, and then so many other things happened, that I did not get around to participating in the "Dream Collections", and I completely missed out on advertising for the auction. When a few days after the auction opened I finally started looking for my quilt to find out in which section it was up for auction I couldn't even remember what it looked like and didn't find it at first. I had to search by my name, I am embarassed to say. And then it sold pretty quickly, the highest price my donated quilt has so far sold for.
All my donated quilts have sold - but of course that is money that I never get to see myself because it is meant as support for SAQA. It means getting my pieces out there, and perhaps it means that I am getting more 'known'. But I am not receiving any immediate 'revenue'. And I have found that my feelings about knowing that quilts are out there, and they are being seen, is more important to me now than that I actually got paid for them.
Which has led to the fact that I already know how the small quilt for next year's donation is going to look like.
And I have decided to donate other quilts. When I read about Rachel Biel's efforts in Paducah I decided, because I could not donate money for the cause, that I would donate quilts for her to try and sell in that shop. I have picked one bigger and two small ones and will ship them as soon as I have attached sleeves to the tow small ones.
And I have offered one of my text message quilts to my brother-in-law and his wife as a 'loan', because all the time I was making it I had always imagined that it would be on display over their red sofa in their living room. I know they can't afford to pay for it, as they are planning to buy a house, and after all it was I who offered it to them, can't expect to be paid when you say, hey, would you like to put up this quilt over your sofa?
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But I would rather have it out there than it being rolled up on the shelf for years and years to come.
I don't know where this is going to lead me. But it has been an interesting development. Especially in a time when I am working on the quilt that I want to enter in SAQA's 'Forced to Flee' call for entry, and I think this is one of the best quilts that I have made so far...