Each and every quilt that I create has an inspiration, a creative design, and a special intent, and purpose beyond the simple act of sewing.
So, each and every quilt has deep and personal heartstrings of love between the act of creation, and the act of giving.
Almost all of my quilts are given away. My bed quilts are usually wedding gifts, or for disaster relief, my comfort quilts go to those in need in hospitals, nursing homes, or in foster care, my baby quilts welcome new babies into the world whether they are members of my family, are children or grandchildren of my friends, or little ones that I will never meet in a variety of hospitals preemie wards, everywhere.
But my own little art quilts hold the nearest, and dearest, and most meaning filled ties to my own hands and my own heart.
So, when selecting a quilt for Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival this year, I selected an art quilt that was a requested commission. I had made and donated a similar quilt to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) as part of the Liberated Quilting Challenge that I created and run.
That quilt, 'Change and Transition' was selected for AAQI's monthly auction and its bidding war was quickly escalating its price beyond what one talented quilter, and bidder on my quilt, felt she could afford. But she loved it and truly wanted to own it. So, she had written me when the little 9" x 12" art quilt's bid went up over $100 and asked if she could commission a trade of some kind in order to get one of my little quilts for herself.
That tiny little quilt ended up with a final auction price of $125. Not my highest auction bid to date, but definitely not my lowest! And oh how I do so love earning money for a good cause!
But I also love creating for my own spirit's sake and I do so love sharing with others, as well!
However, it was a time of so many personal challenges. A time when I was spending all of my time helping family members face life, or death situations. A time when I really did not think I could possibly find one more minute, much less the five days it usually takes me to design and create one of these tiny quilts.
I have to be in an uplifted state of mind, body, and spirit, to infuse the quilts with the joy and healing energies that I want each one to carry. And I need to allow myself the freedom of intent and purpose to manifest that state within me, to carry forth into the purpose and manifestation within each art quilt.
I had to take a deep breathe, a big thought, and a huge jump to saying..."Yes, I can." And so I did!
And this little art quilt "Ethereal I" for Lynne Tyler, by special request, became a validation of the ability to create even when under pressure, even when limited by severe time constraints, and even when you think you can't add even one more tiny, little thing into your life.
And because I could, I made all kinds of other little things. I made bookmarks, and fabric backed business cards, and mug mats and my act of creating 'just a little bit more' grew and grew! And each and every tiny little gift of the heart created new energies of creativity within my own self. They never have to be big things, they never have to be perfect things, you just need to nurture and manifest creativity in any shape, any form that lifts your own spirit and makes your own heart sing.
By the time my brother was rushed to the ER in Anchorage and we were told he probably wasn't going to make it, when his wife my SIL needed a kidney transplant, and I was asking everyone to join me in Praying for a Miracle, and then of course, my MIL was diagnosed with advanced bone cancer, just as my own mother, now in her 8th year of advanced Alzheimer's is now in her own last stage of life...well, I know now, that life and crises keep going until life, itself finally ends.
So, 'yes, I can!' was really and truly begun when I made this little quilt.
Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska and all of her AAQI Quilting. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!
And just because I can...I even made another variation, another "Ethereal" that has also been donated to my favorite cause to earn even more money for Alzheimer's research!
Yes, I can...and Yes, you can...and Yes, we all can, too!