Monday, July 9, 2012

crafting and quilting and caring, oh my!

As many of my followers know, crafting is very close to my heart - it pretty much rules my entire life (and 95% of storage place in my home)... if I could make a venn diagram which plotted my crafty interests alongside my interests in crafting for people or for a good cause, then the project I'm about to tell you about would fall smack dab in the middle, in the perfect storm of patchwork, quilting, creativity, collaboration and caring.

I found out about this project through my lovely friend Kyla who I sadly do not know as well as I would like too... you see, we have sort of parallel life paths that only occasionally seem to meet up. For example, we both did the same internship at the same museum, but at different times... we've both lived in Bristol, but at different times, and we share a similar set of common friends... though occasionally the universe does allow me to spend some time with her... I mostly find out about her through our social media connections and all the updates I see about the amazingly creative things she is up to in her corner of the world.

I'm not sure I could do the story any more justice than the Edmonton Journal already has, but Kyla was among one of the many friends and loved ones of artist Darren Zenko who came together to create something beautiful and everlasting when he was moved into palliative care towards the end of his battle with cancer.

Please read more about it here  OR have a look at the gallery of patches here:

Just one of the many beautiful patches in the quilt created by Darren Zenko's loved ones.

Now I'm not so naive that I think that creative arts and crafts is going to solve all of the worlds problems or protect us from all pain and hardships, but the longer I carry on crafting, the more I realise that it plays a more important role in my life than being something that I do for just business or pleasure.

Without getting too philosophical, I think we really do put a little of ourselves into everything we make - whether it be a one-off unique gift for someone, a commissioned piece or even a long run of similar items we design and make for sale.  People use religion, philosophy, literature and science to help them understand the world and get through day to day life, and I'm not ashamed to say that I use crafting.

I craft out of happiness, I craft out of frustration, I craft out of sadness sometimes too.  Crafting provides me with the space to clear my mind, put things in perspective and pour a part of me into something physical. It's not always as meaningful as that, but I know it can be if I want it to be. Earlier this year I wrote about what motivated me to start my 52 Week : 52 Craft challenge, and how crafting filled my need to do something at a very difficult time... this project really touched me and really inspires me as I reach the halfway point in my fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support.

I don't expect all of our creations to be preserved in museums and galleries for eternity, but there is something a little comforting in making, and giving, and knowing that you are making something that carries with it some real posterity.

This project is really inspiring because I know that it must have not only meant so much to Darren himself, but it also helped bring people together and gave his loved ones a way to help in a very difficult time.  This new object, created by many hands, doesn't just tell the story of one person, but it preserves the story and experience of a connected web of people at a very significant moment when all their lives collided under sad circumstances.  I hope that in this very difficult time, they've found a bit of joy in what they did and what they were able to create together.

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