Friday, September 23, 2016

Things Will Never Be the Same--Fall 2016 Bloggers Quilt Festival

It's time for that wonderful on-line Bloggers Quilt Festival once again! Amy does a great job putting this together and I'd like to thank her for her efforts! The quilt was one that I questioned very seriously whether it should be included. But then, I thought, if even one person gets inspired by this quilt to make their own story quilt, then it will all be totally worthwhile.
The story of a fire in our town
These kinds of story quilts are quite grueling actually. I don't think I realized the depth of emotion required to get to a finish, until last year when I finally took the last stitch and just sort of sagged back into my chair. My story is similar to lots of other people's across the USA {and Australia} in the last several years, only we didn't actually lose our house. Almost! But to some people that doesn't matter because 'almost' can't possibly be traumatic. lol  Yeah. Still laughing. But at least it was nature, not people causing the damage like in the case of the current rioting issues across the nation. I think that would be harder to process, don't you?
Trying to figure things out
There's always so much mental conflict, emotion and horror at dealing with these destructive acts of nature. Feeling completely out of control and wanting to place a little blame, figure out what went wrong and what we might do differently the next time. Feeling so fragile in the face the aftermath--what our family and friends are having to deal with. Trying to give real, true help and not just throw a little pity their way and then forget about their pain. Planning and working through the implementation of this quilt really helped me put all those feelings where they belonged and worked as a sort of therapy. Oh how I loved and hated this quilt!
Lots of crazy emotions
So much harder than I thought it would be, but I felt so driven to tell the story. Because it matters! And if you're a quilter, how else to tell the story but with fabric and thread? Stitch after stitch, I could feel the emotion being embedded into the fiber, almost beyond my control! Little details being added in constantly to add more emphasis--such as the little red and white dotty circles representing the embers flying through our town, setting one thing after another on fire. The flag that flew upside down in our town for months, signally our great distress to outsiders. The way I tried to write 'Pateros' to emulate our town sign that eerily burned {completely into two and then incinerated} and  now can never be replaced because of new zoning laws.
The pain of determining the value of our belongings
I posted a bit about the process on my blog here and there, but always felt so inadequate. Which then got a lot worse when I entered the quilt into our local quilt show {on the 1 yr. anniversary of our town burning} only to be basically shunned. {Yeah, it's true 'cuz this year I didn't even get my usual email to enter quilts!} My emotions were ALL OVER THE PLACE after that, but as my mom says, it got my 'mad up' and gave me the motivation to enter the quilt into a larger venue.
It really happened just like that
So terrifying, but at least it proved to me that I wasn't a complete and total whacko. Genuine shock and awe followed when I got the first glimpse of my quilt hanging in that much larger show. A Best of Show ribbon!! and whenever I made my way back over to look at my quilt, people standing in front of it for a very long time. This happened at the one other show I entered this quilt into as well. People standing, reading through the quilt, taking pictures, talking and crying with their friends as they took the time to process the message. So gratifying that the message was able to resonate with strangers. So humbling.
Things Will Never Be the Same
I don't care if this quilt gets voted on or not in this festival. It just seemed like a good place to enter it and say I'm so grateful to be a quilter in times like these. Whether or not I have another story quilt in me remains to be seen. This one still gets my nerves humming along just by reading through the words and remembering that day. That summer. And yes people in our community have moved on, recovered and/or rebuilt. Their lives have definitely improved, most of them. But not all. Some will always view that summer as the moment when their lives took a turn for the worse. That seems to be the capriciousness of life the world over.

Anyway, thanks for reading through if you did. My loyal readers have already heard the whole story over and over and over and over.*wink  I'm entering this quilt into the Applique category if you'd like to go have a look there as well!

24 comments:

  1. I've loved it from the beginning. And several times I have thought back to your post of how devastated you were when it was hung back in that dark corner.
    Rondi

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  2. I'm amazed that you didn't get a notification for the local quilt show this year - that is downright rude!! Good luck in
    Amy's. I didn't enter anything in the spring or fall this year - taking a break from it.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your finished quilt.

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  4. Wow! There is so much emotion put into this quilt. It's a piece of art! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  5. it must have been so terrifying and so little you could do, as you say at least your house was notlost and you have made a quilt that tells and shares the horrors of july 17 2014

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  6. I've followed along as you made this quilt, and it never fails to be a sober reminder to be Thankful for every day when life flows along at a peaceful pace, those sunny days, when everything is right with our little corner of the world. So glad you decided to enter it in this year's festival.

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  7. I must not have started following your blog until after that horrible fire, so I had to back and read some of your links. What a terrible experience, but from those ashes has risen this beautiful expression. Therapeutic and very courageous of you to sit with those feelings and emotion and give them an outlet, and to share it with others.

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  8. Fabulous quilt. Congratulations on your best of show.

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  9. I love quilts that tell a story. I know the pain and turmoil you experienced making this quilt and how much it helped you heal. One of my favorites because of that.

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  10. It look one of a kind, even if one doesn't read the story. What great graffiti looking wall.

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  11. What a lovely job you did conveying emotion. It's a great quilt.

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  12. Well Audrey, you know how I feel about that quilt. I really think it needs to bee SEEN. I hope to see it someday at a major quilt show, or museum exhibit. Meanwhile, the online quilt show is a great idea. If I can ever figure out how to get into her website, I'll vote for it!

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  13. It's a wonderful quilt to enter and share.

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  14. What a meaningful quilt Audrey ! And it shows your very unusual own style. Good luck for the Festival.

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  15. I'm so happy to see this again (great idea to enter it in the Festival too). It's a great example of how our quilting is connected to the real world, not just a form of crafty escapism - though it can be that too. Your showing it again does make me want to make my own story quilt some time.

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  16. So nice to see this quilt again and I remember it and the horrible time that you all went through.

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  17. Glad you entered this in the Festival of Quilts. You created an amazing and unique quilt and despite your one bad experience, it's definitely a quilt worth sharing!!!

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  18. People unfamiliar with quilt making do not understand the emotion that takes place in the making of a quilt. I do. Thank you for making this quilt. And for being strong to keep it visual. You just can't put a price on that.

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  19. Thank you so much for sharing your stunning quilt, and all the emotion that you poured into it!

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  21. I'm so glad to see this quilt again. Not only because of the personal impact of this tragedy but your use and arrangement of symbols. Very moving and artful. Well done, Audrey.

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  22. We don't have bush fires where I live in New Zealand, but I have certainly seen the damage they can do in Australia. We do have earthquakes though, and I know the emotions they can generate in people, so understand some of what you must have gone through. Well done on putting those feelings into a quilt. I'm certainly going to vote for your quilt.

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  23. Its a beautiful quilt! Thanks for sharing it!

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  24. Thank you for sharing your quilt and the story behind it. It's beautiful and moving. I've never seen a story quilt before now, but I like the idea. I'm sorry that you, your family and town had to endure a horrible fire, but perhaps some solace and healing will come from your gorgeous quilt.

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