Forty Days of Prayer for Quilters – Day 2

Jaws made its cinematic debut in 1975. Not even in double digits at the time I have memories that still gives me shivers even though I never saw the movie. Ever. One of the neighborhood kids decided it would be okay to tell me, an under 10 year old, about the movie. That led to nightmares. Night-mares.

Over the last few days it’s been really hard to go into the sewing room to do anything. The ideas have bounced round in my head vying for attention. And there’s one that is demanding much brain space, giving me no clue what it is or where it’s going. Frustrating and a little mind boggling.

In the meantime back in the recesses of my mind I remembered that John Paul II wrote a Letter to Artists. I’ve just started page three, highlighter selected and marking up all the things.

Like the first paragraph:

None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.
– John Paul II, Letter to Artists April 4, 1999

Participating in the act of creating art is, I believe, part of our life of prayer, our connection to God, and to each other.  As quilters developing and honing the ability to see the possibilities with fabric and thread is part of that creative act. While it takes time the effort is worth it as each quilt we make has as its greatest potential the dual purpose of bringing delight and keeping someone warm. The potential exists for the receiver to not value the work of our hands, it’s a really painful risk.

With loving regard, the divine Artist passes on to the human artist a spark of his own surpassing wisdom, calling him to share in his creative power. Obviously, this is a sharing which leaves intact the infinite distance between the Creator and the creature, as Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa made clear: “Creative art, which it is the soul’s good fortune to entertain, is not to be identified with that essential art which is God himself, but is only a communication of it and a share in it”.(1)
– John Paul II, Letter to Artists April 4, 1999

Making quilts, creating beauty is what we are called to as artists. We have no choice but to do the work. When we do the work it’s glorious, in spite of any of the frustrations of learning how to achieve that which we see in our mind’s eye. What we see there is of vastly different from what happens in cloth. The beauty is that we can do it again, making changes in the work, the quilt, that are much more closly alighned to the beauty of what we see. It may take more than one quilt to get there and that’s the best thing ever as,

This relationship is particularly clear in the Polish language because of the lexical link between the words stwórca (creator) and twórca (craftsman).
– John Paul II, Letter to Artists April 4, 1999

we are developing the skills of a master craftsman (please don’t get torqued on language here). We develop and hone the skills of cutting, piecing, choosing color, texture, thread, and design – this is technical work. We do improve with each quilt we make and we will discover the voice our Lord has given us to speak with. Like learning to walk, or ride a bike this takes time, and commitment. Part of that commitment is to making some crap along the way.

Prayer: God of creation, guide our hearts closer to you, guide our hands in the work you give us. Guard our hearts and minds as we enter into the creative process with you. Allow us to make mistakes with grace, learn without fear and shame, and grow through pruning.

Amen.

God bless,

Teri

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