It’s usually in those initial moments after we are born that our first blanket is wrapped around us to protect us from the chill of arriving. It’s a feeble attempt to mimic the security and warmth of our mother’s womb. From then on, birth until death, textiles are integral to our daily lives--keeping us warm and dry and reflecting our sense of self. When we lose those closest to us, we are often left with their clothes, which smell and look like our loves but are, nonetheless, hollow without them. It occurred to me that by turning clothes into quilts, that their deconstruction and reconstruction would be a way to transform the clothes into a new textile. While, I have plans to make quilts from my Grandma’s clothes, I felt called to make one first for my friend, Alana, who is currently going through cancer treatment. She lost her partner, Junene, 6 ½ years ago and has been celebrating her life ever since. I asked Alana if I could make a quilt for her to be a sort of comfort for her during this health challenge, and also, to be a way for Junene to be present. So, I designed the quilt to be a wrap--like a shawl-- to simulate a hug.
I’ve enjoyed sewing with Junene’s clothes. It sounds curious, but I feel like I’ve gotten to know her through her clothes--their pastel hues in casual knits make me imagine her tending to her garden. I’ll be interested to get Alana’s reaction--good or bad to this quilt. She has been so generous in allowing me this intimate act of creation.
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.