The Quilting Bee
One of the great aspects about working for an educational institution is the constant exposure to intellectual discussions on every topic imaginable. At University level not only are the theory of issues debated and examined but also the processes of how and why any particular subject is studied. And in this wonderful array of deep and meaningful subject matter to life, quilting is also included.
Our campus library is a wonderful place. I just adore libraries. They’re filled to the rim with books on all the knowledge I’ll spend my whole life trying to know. I was introduced to the wonders of the library at a very young age. My mother, always on the cutting edge of everything remotely educational, would bring hers and her sisters children to story hour once a month at the Adriance Memorial Library in our hometown. There she got a much needed break from six bothersome kids and we got to hear classic stories read out loud that were written by Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Mother Goose. My favorite fairytale of all times is Thumbelina. But I’m getting away from the topic of this post...... Lets just say I have a love affair with books that started at a very young age.
Here in our University library is a fantastic section on textiles. In my search for all things quilty I discovered the most interesting book entitled ‘Quilting, the fabric of everyday life’ by Marybeth Stalp. Here is what the dust cover says:
- Title: Quilting : the fabric of everyday life / Marybeth C. Stalp.
- Author/Creator: Marybeth C. Stalp
- Subjects: Quilting -- Anecdotes ; Quilting -- Psychological aspects
- Description: Introduction, why quilting -- Tripping through the tulips, doing research close to home -- It's not just for grannies anymore, learning to quilt at midlife -- The guilty pleasures of the fabric stash -- Quilt rhymes with guilt, finding the time and space to quilt -- Coming out of the closet, quilting is for self and for others -- Piecing it all together.
"Quilting, once regarded as a traditional craft, has broken through the barriers of history, art and commerce to become a global phenomenon, international multi-billion dollar industry and means of gendered cultural production. In Quilting, sociologist and quilter Marybeth C. Stalp explores how and why women quilt." "This close ethnographic study illustrates that women's lives can be transformed in often surprising ways by the activity and art of quilting. Some women who quilt as a leisure pastime are too afraid to admit to being a quilter for fear of ridicule; others boldly identify themselves as quilters and regard it as part of their everyday lives."
"The place of quilting in women's lives affects core family and personal identity issues such as marriage, childcare, friendship and aging. The book's accessible and intimate portrayal of real quilters' lives provides a fabric for the sociology, anthropology and textile student to understand more about wider issues of cultural production and identity that stem from this very personal pastime."--BOOK JACKET.
I checked out the book and read it cover to cover in a few short days. It was so insightful into the dynamics of the core of what I believe quilting is about. I’ve always viewed quilting and quilt groups as not only a means to creating something that can be art as well as function, but also a very important aspect of women’s social engagements. I can create a quilt in solitude. But the magic happens when I create a quilt amongst women of like minds engaging in the most important of all human needs, social interaction.
So here’s to the quilt group, the guild, the quilting bee, and the sewing circle. Without whose support, laughter, encouragement, and occasionally tears, I would be a lesser quilter – and certainly a lesser woman.