Sunday, June 27, 2010
Last summer I got to be in a short workshop with some of the Gee's Bend gals in Sisters, Oregon. It was nothing short of a spiritual experience--truly!
There were about 7 of the ladies there, all ages. First they sang some rousing gospel-type songs. Then they scattered around the room and started working with us. No lecture, no introductions, just gather the inspiration and start.
China Pettway came over to our table, and began to work with my sister-in-law, Bonnie, and me.
The first thing she said was, "Where are your pieces?" I pointed to my nicely folded stack of fabrics. She said, "Well, we'll need to cut some pieces first." OK. I grabbed my rotary cutter and mat. "What are doing with that thing?" she asked. "Get some scissors over here." Lesson one--no rotary cutters.
She took the scissors and cut two rectangles, free-hand, one peach and one red. Then she said, "Sew these together." OK. Then she cut a piece of turquoise and said, "Sew this onto there." Yes, Mam. Then the red polka dot.
I asked her how she decided to put these particular fabrics together. She just ignored me. I asked THREE times over the next hour. No response. Lesson two--let the spirit move you.
As I added fabrics in the same way, she kept saying, "Now that's beautiful, just beautiful." I felt like a little girl with the most encouraging mother at my side. Lesson three--be sweet to yourself.
We made two blocks this way--the top two in this piece. She offered her signature. I went straight back to our cabin and made the other two. I was hooked!
I came home and kept going, humming one of those Gee's Bend songs.
I just finished quilting this one for my sister, Kimber, who lives in Idaho. The back includes a strip from a shirt that belonged to our Dad. Now she can wrap herself in a hug from him--and me--anytime she wants!