Brett and I went to the Church Museum earlier this year to see the quilt exhibit they had there (LDS Church cuts ribbon on quilt, artwork display, ‘Pieces of Me’ at museum, Quilt Exhibit Teaches about Ties That Bind Humanity). I enjoyed the quilts, but the quote at the beginning of the exhibit next to a crazy quilt really stood out to me:
“As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, Nov 2010, 21
Life is a complex crazy quilt – a colorful representation of oddities stitched together into one complete composition of who we are. In spite of the chaotic appearance of the fabric scraps in a crazy quilt, the quilt creates a beautiful whole, organized upon the foundation of a basic structure, often a square. Likewise, all of our uniquely shaped experiences are pieced together to create individual identities founded upon our spiritual nature and the experience of human relationships.
Many small relationships are integral pieces in the fabric of the person we call “me.” The narrative of “my life” starts as a relationship with self, involves family ties, expands to interactions within a community, and reaches out to connect with the world. Our relationship with God is at the heart of all other relationships. He is the thread that ties us together.
The art of quilting can help us share stories of the relationships that make up our individual and communal identities. While all of the quilts and artifacts in this exhibit have been made by individual Latter-day Saint artists, the relationships they illustrate are universal and can speak to people of all circumstances. Seemingly commonplace quilts can illustrate the complex nature of human ties and tell a story that beautifully ties together all of the pieces of “me.”
The quilts were great. It was not a large exhibit like the quilt show we go to here. Instead it was an exhibit about how it is possible to express yourself, and especially your beliefs, through quilting. One of these days, when my landscaping quilting skills are a bit better, I’m going to make a quilt that represents with images the testimony I have of God and my Savior.
I did, however, finish up my first quilt in a while this week and as soon as it arrives at its destination I’ll put a picture of it here (don’t want to give away the surprise). I actually finished the binding while riding the bus. I kept getting far too distracted everywhere else because I hate doing binding. I like how it looks, I just don’t like doing it.
I am (still, some things just take a while) working on a scrap quilt and when I had all the big pieces of fabric before I cut them up I was worried it wasn’t going to look that great, that the fabrics wouldn’t go together. But they do and the quilt is beautiful (it’s just not completely quilted yet). That’s like life. Sometimes you’re looking at what you have and can’t see how in the world that will all work out. But then you work with it and get it to the shape you need and suddenly that’s just the pattern experience you needed to make your quilt.
By experiencing the beauty this world has to offer and then adding our own, we are participating in creation with God. And that is definitely something to seek after.