May you have so many things you love
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Having many mediums to work within and from is extremely important to me. As someone who gets bored, has a hard time paying attention, needs stimulus in many different ways, I love nothing more than to set one thing down and pick another thing up. I love nothing more than to write and to dance and to quilt and to host and to vision and to dream and to talk and to podcast. It wasn’t always this way, I used to feel like : I wish I was just one thing, just a dancer. Just a writer.
I find many people who take quilt class are artists in a medium that isn’t textiles : painters, writers, sculptors. As well as many who consider themselves non artists who are looking to increase their creative capacity - lawyers, nurses, doulas, baristas, farmers. All you have to know how to do is thread a sewing machine and bonus points if you know how to sew a line. I don’t say straight line anymore because I hardly know how to sew a straight line.
One thing that has been so beautiful to witness is many artists take quilt class and end up weaving quilting into their practice in a huge way, some pivoting to have it be a primary part of their practice in what they sell, make, offer, and show. I dare say that out of everything I teach, A Quilt is Something Human has the biggest impact on the world. There are so many more artists, so many more blankets, so many more people staying warm because of this digital space.
As a writer, my primary medium for the last five years, has been to write. Quilting is how I figure out the world, and I find that I love teaching through the lens and history of quilting. But quilting itself isn’t the primary way that I make a living and I do that on purpose. Teaching is my main source of income and teaching people how to make a quilt from beginning to end, I have found, teaches them how to do many other things from beginning to end.
An invitation in paying attention, putting things together, ripping it all apart, putting it back together again, connecting the layers together, and finishing. Or never finishing. Or half finishing.
To be able to put something down and pick it back up when we feel like it is a luxury. I don’t have that same luxury with my newsletter. I pick it up on Mondays and I put the layers together and I delete half of it and then I rewrite a bunch of it and then I connect the layers and send it out. This discipline though is also a luxury, it invites a sense of completion and satisfaction that the job of the day is done.
And then I can turn towards the quilt, or the quilt turns towards me. I have been thinking of wanting to take a pottery class or even just make some little clay pots to have another medium. Even though I don’t sell quilts making them is still a part of my job. Documenting and writing about my creative practice, writing about gift giving and mutual aid through the raffling off and giving of quilts.
So now I long for something else, like a little clay pot. I love usable items that take less time like loop potholders, but that still exists in the textile realm so yah … now I want to make a little pot.
People come to me and are always overwhelmed by “how much they do” or how many different things they do. I paint! I write! I sew! I want to have a shop! I do graphic design! I make ceramics! Help! Perhaps it is the plight of the millennial but I also loved listening to Joni Mitchell speak on her flow between poetry and painting, How when one dries up she picks up the other.
I don’t see the problem here. When one isn’t calling you turn towards the other, it will teach you what you are looking for, and it will teach you what the other one wants as well. My dancing shows me how to quilt, my quilting shows me how to write, my writing shows me how to teach, my teaching shows me how to dance.
Stop trying to be less, to be excited about less, to be called towards less.
May you have so many things you love you can’t decide which to love next
This is the place I bring everything to. All my research, my joy, my curiosity, my mess, my wonder, and my extreme love of quilts. Each session is so special, so transformative, it really is my favorite place on the internet!
Respond to this email if you have any questions, ten spots left on Sundays and plenty of spots left on Tuesdays. Closed captions provided. Can’t make it live? Every class is recorded and yours forever.
There is also a fun digital community group and you can hang out with each other and all past students there.
BIPOC Students use code QUILTSCHOLARSHIP at checkout - a few spots left in each session, two and three part payment plans available for all
I got to talk to Samantha Irby on the Living In This Queer Body podcast and it is very special and you might like it if you like listening to two queers talk about their bodies, writing, television shows, and more
The Marfa Stance x Gee's Bend collaboration
On Wonder’s Insistence : If we listen quietly, we will hear the insistence of wonder ringing everywhere - newest newsletter from Annika Hansteen-Izora
HIGHLY recommend subscribing to Emma Gannon’s Substack - over the years I have been continuously inspired by Emma’s writing and thoughts on technology, the craft of writing, being a person, and more
Excited to see my friend Kevin play his songs in Detroit this weekend
Nicole Lavelle’s WILD CARDS
Every day I pick a new favorite but today it is this
Yesterday I celebrated four years since How to Not Always Be Working came out and am pleased to report it has sold over 41k copies. I don’t know if that is a lot or a little if I am honest I have no idea how many copies of people’s books sell BUT I do know in my brain that is a lot of people who have read that little book! Or let it collect dust on their nightstand but that helps too, so I hear
Detroit : this is tomorrow and will be dreamy!
The bobcat of the meadow is making regular visits, the porcupine is leaving us alone, the deer and June are eating all the apples, the weather is beautiful, the leaves are like nothing I have ever seen in my life, and I am so so happy to be home. New meadows on the horizon.
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