May 15, 2013

Prayer Flags for Boston: The Color of Love

When I first discovered that the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild was asking for prayer flags for Boston, I thought to myself...... in this order .... I'm not a 'modern' quilter...(I like to see myself as improvisational, or liberated, not 'modern' ;) ..... I've already made a Boston prayer flag (and shared it)......I don't have one single moment of extra time and... how can I keep doing what I do.... and survive my busy life....and I always, always do..
.....ok, so why can't I make a prayer flag for Boston????
So, I did!


If there is one thing I have learned in the past 15 years, its that there is always time for whatever you make important ..that day...that hour.. that your life. And I do it and the more I do it, the more I have discovered that I continue to do it. And strangely enough ... .the saying is true...I have, indeed, gotten stronger and stronger and stronger. 

I had a lovely Mother's Day, yesterday. My three children and their significant others all came up and over to be with us, I received lovely gifts, fresh flowers, potted flowers and plants, and the chickens and cat all honored me with their 'presence'. And it was a warm, and sunny, and lovely day.... when it wasn't even supposed to be.  I remember the song from Annie...... singing in my head...'The sun will come out, tomorrow..." And that feeling stayed with me, all day, all night, and into my quilting and prayer flag creating, today.

It was quite wonderful, really.

But the more I thought about my own blessings, the more I also thought about the flip side of that coin.. the hardships we all face, we all feel like we are battling. But for every person who has it 'better' or 'easier' or at a higher standard of living than us.. there are always 9 more people who have it far more challenging. And, yes.. I have lived through devastating losses.. just as many of you have. I have faced them, battled them, survived them and seen the sun come out 'tomorrow'. 

For all time is now. Past, present, and future. The clocks stop, the face on our wrist watches spin in the ever continuing cycles of one great 'dreamtime.' 

And yes," time may heal all wounds", but love is the greatest healer of all. It can heal anger, and hatred, and jealousy, and even the desire for revenge.

So, for all those who suffer, all those who have lost loved ones, I created my first little flag for Boston. The center little prayer flag.....with its required sewn edges and 6 inch by 8 inch shape ..and with its required 1 and one half inch wide by 16 inches long strip folded and sewn into a binding tie strip...very different from my usual rough and ready for action in the great unknown prayer flags.;

But the quilted flag, itself, shares all of that ragged and uncertainty of life made into one unified whole...inside and outside of time.

Titled "The Color of Love" and featuring a quotation by the artist Marc Chagall which states:

"In our live there is a single color
, as on an artists' palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love."

And to make that symbolic point, I used a black piece of binding/tie strip. People always want to see black as dark, as negative, as the opposite of life, and love, and optimism. But black is the summation of ALL colors. And so, it too, is 'the color of love.'

Out of what may appear to be great and challenging darkness, come one thing and one thing only that is greater than all that we think we see and feel. We are one and the color of that one is love.

My little prayer flag is made up of cut up and put back together bits and pieces, all from my own re-purposed and recycled fabrics from free cycled groups. I wanted to create order and unity from chaos and destruction and desolation. I want to create love joined, love created and now, unifying, and love ever growing, and ever expanding outwards to all.

And then...because I could....I made two more prayer flags for Boston..for each side. Now, there will be a trinity of prayer flags made with my heart and with my hands..heading for Boston.

 A flag with a little 'Heart' and another one with a 'B"...both made "For Boston With Love"

Our prayer flags  will fly in the Shapiro Family Courtyard at the ....

How awesome is that?  And they will fly.....this year, over Memorial Day weekend  ....and through mid-June  ......and then, year, in 2014 in remembrance, once again!  Sharing so much love from so many places.

The details of this Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild project is posted here
And if you do not belong to a Modern Quilt Guild and do not have a local address for one, I did find the posted mailing address for Amy Friend, who is collecting prayer flags for this fabulous display. Her posted already on the Internet address is:  Amy Friend, PO Box 774 West Newbury MA   01985.

Amy's blog, by the way is:  During Quiet Time, and just visiting her, at her site, was indeed very quiet, and soothing .... and her work is just lovely!  Check out her own lovely projects!

I made mine 'outside of the box' and in my own style and not necessarily '
modern' but they still use of the bright colors that were suggested as signs of love, hope, and optimism for the future. For indeed, the ' sun will come out tomorrow.'

Please join in and send your own prayers, as well. It doesn't have to be a prayer flag, it doesn't have to be a quilt, it doesn't have to be the hundreds of thousands of things that people all over the world have already sent to Boston, or to Newtown, or to other disaster areas. Send a good and loving thought, the color of love when sent from the heart is the most beautiful, amazing, and meaningful and meaning filled thing that there is..... for that is the power of good.

Love to Boston, love to all who were in Boston that fateful day, love to all of those who are stuck in the place and time of that day, still. May be all live in the eternal now of love-time, and every day.

And don't forget, the wonderful   The Prayer Flag Project  which I am very proud to be a member of and which I also share my prayer flags contributions with, for posting there.

Other recent and associated links:

Prayers Flags from Mungpoo

Boston Marathon: Light a Candle, Make a Prayer Flag
The Simplest of Things....
Prayers Flags: The Simplest of Things Can Carry Great Love
Snippets and Threadtales

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska, as she sews, quilts, and creates small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in her 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!


Bee Quilter said...

A wonderful project and a very fine and interesting finish. You do such neat things.

VivJM said...

Michele, your prayer flag is wonderful - I love your style. But most of all, I love your attitude! Yes, there is always time for what we consider to be important. I don't know if you have come across the story about the professor and the jar of stones - if not, I think you would like it. You can read it here:
With love, Viv x

Karen H said...

What a wonderful post and a terrific project. It is so easy to get caught in our own trials and tribulations. When we take a few moments to consider the lives of those affected by the Boston bombings, the factory collapse in Bangadesh or any one of thousands of other events around the world, it helps put our own challenges in perspective and to be appreciative of what we have. I think it also reminds us to look for joy in the smallest of things.

Cher said...

stopping by and as always, enjoyed your heartfelt and uplifting post and what truly wonderful prayer flags..well done Michele...