Our Lives in Stitches

Our Lives in Stitches
This summer I participated in an institute entitled Threads of Change: Culture, Identity and Personal Adornment in our Globalizing World. Educators explored ancient and contemporary cultures. As a follow up to this experience, this fall I will meet Peruvian weavers at the Cleveland Museum of Art as they are here to celebrate the opening of the new Wari exhibit. In the meantime, I am participating in workshops using award-winning multicultural literature and making books. My life beyond family is mostly about threads and ties—connections with other cultures plus sharing skills and interests with acquaintances or friends.
People ask, “How do we begin learning about other peoples?” My usual response is to share what you like with people who have the same passion. For me, that has been a lifelong journey looking at handwork, appreciating the creativity and passion that has been invested in each item, but never forgetting that the person that produced the item is more precious than the product I covet. As I reflect upon my good fortune I realize I have been around the world in this search. I have seen some of the most beautiful objects ever produced, and my life has been enriched because I have shared these adventures with others.
Among my regular treats is belonging to the African American Quilt and Doll Guild. Our official meetings are on the first and third Saturday of each month, but my favorite time is during our “sew-ins.” We meet most months on the second or fourth Saturday at the Warrensville Hts. Library, and spend an entire Saturday chatting and completing projects. The difference between this experience and our regular meetings is there is no formality, and there is so much laughter because there are no specific goals. The gatherings are magical and healing because they are so informal. Yet, anyone might share a technique or ask questions of the participants. We simply love making things, and fabric and fiber are our medium. There is a sisterhood that is
inexplicable.
At those times I am reminded that women all over the world, now and long ago, have shared similar experiences. Our lives are shared, hearts mended, and love envelopes us as we stitch our memories, and visions into colorful compositions—each as unique as the artist who creates it. By now several members have produced work that has been on exhibit in different parts of the country, plus some have had pieces published in books or magazines. Anyone who wants to see the fruits of our labor would do well to join us at Randalwood in Warrensville Heights on October 12th or 13th for our third biennial quilt and doll show. I can guarantee you a feast for the eyes and inspiration in abundance. For information call 216-587-1250 or visit the African American Quilt and Doll Guild website at http://www.aaqdg.org.
Jakki

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