On this creative journey

This past weekend I took a road trip to see the Sacred Threads art quilt exhibit in Herndon, Virginia. This exhibit was originally scheduled for July 2021 and was postponed until this year (we all know what was going on then).

The Sacred Threads exhibit is a biennial exhibition which was established as a way “to provide a safe venue for quilters who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey.” For the past 3 events, I’ve had the honor of having my art selected to be apart of this exhibition. It is an extremely special event. What I didn’t know driving there was how important this year’s event was going to be.

The art quilt community is unique. We are kindred souls. We understand how important it is to create our art in a society that may only recognize our talents as common craft. Many of us have deep messaging behind what we create. Sacred Threads honors all of that. (Note: sadly, as I write this, it is uncertain if there will be another.)

As artists, we create because we are called to. And at gatherings like this, we are collectively understood by each other. No need to explain what we do, or why we do it. There are no quilt police looking at stitches per inch or accurate piecing. There are no critics making judgements on what is or isn’t good art. None of that matters, because we are purely expressing ourselves with textiles.

What struck me most was how good it felt to be among my peers. For many of us, it’s been a long time since we have gathered like this. I’ve missed them. Its been more than 2 years since the start of the pandemic. Meaning it is more than 2 years of being isolated on our journeys. Sure many of us have turned to video conferencing and social media to connect, but there’s nothing like seeing textile art in person. There is nothing like hugging a long time friend and seeing their smiling face looking back at you. And, there is nothing like knowing you’re not alone on this creative journey.

4 comments

  1. Kim says:

    Well said Nanette. I feel that your message is true for most quilters of all levels. No judgements, just creating with textiles, a hidden personal message. Everyone has there own reasons that draw them to quilting. There is warmth and comfort in the creation of a quilt.

    • Nanette Zeller says:

      Very true. Unfortunately, for art in general, there are some venues which are more “judgy.” Why we create, no matter what we create, is very personal. Quilts tend to have more of that personal touch embedded within. The hand and drape of a fabric, the warmth of the batting, the color or special cloth (e.g. a swatch from grandma’s dress) all hold messages that go well beyond the physical design of the artwork. A quilt can literally wrap someone in love. So very special. Keep creating!!

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