Fiber Artist Cyndi Sauder, Her Legacy in Quilts, and a Slow Stitching Journey:
Slow Stitching and My Legacy Quilts
by Cyndi Souder
When I first heard about the Slow Stitching Movement, I thought, “Great. I have too much to do already and now they want me to SLOW DOWN?!” But once I read Mark’s thoughts on the Slow Stitching Movement, I realized that I don’t have to work even more slowly (I’m already a tortoise in the studio); I do need to show up and be truly present as I work.
Many of the quilts I make are for others. Clients come to me with memories, clothing, pictures, ideas, stories, and so much more. Often, they want to celebrate the life of someone they’ve lost. Sometimes they want to celebrate a new life, an accomplishment, or the realization of a lifelong dream. While I normally call these Celebration Quilts, we could also call these Legacy Quilts. These quilts will outlive their owners, be passed down through the generations, and carry their memories and stories into the future. These are important quilts, deserving of our best work and our full attention. These quilts cry for us to slow down and respect the process.
So, how do my legacy quilts relate to the Slow Stitching Movement?
Let me share a Celebration Quilt with you that’s not in my book. Last summer, I made a quilt for a client who was in the process of building her dream house in the mountains. On her new property, she had a trail tree, also known as a bent tree. As a sapling, this tree had been bent down to the ground and tacked there to mark the trail. As it grew older and stronger, the tree returned to its upright position but always bore the characteristic bend of its trunk. Throughout construction, my client protected this tree and hired a graphic artist to create a logo for her new home based on the bent tree. I created her quilt, Bent Tree, from this logo.
Every step of this quilt’s creation was intentional and deliberate from the fabric selection to creating the pattern to fabricating miles of bias tape to hand-basting each piece onto the foundation fabric as it hung on the design wall. As I worked through each step, I stayed present in the moment and did the best work I possibly could.
I think it’s too easy to turn on the TV or listen to a book while you are working on really important quilts. I’m not saying you can’t watch West Wing marathons or listen to Mark’s Creative Mojo podcasts as you work. When I’m working on a utility quilt that I just need to get done, I’m all about multi-tasking. Here’s the distinction: When I’m working on a quilt that really matters, I try to live up to its standards.
When we slow down and give these quilts our time and our full attention – when we’re truly in the moment as we work on these quilts – they become our legacies and they will speak for us long after we are gone.
About Cyndi Souder
Cyndi Souder is a teacher, lecturer, author, and award-winning art quilter who creates Celebration Quilts for clients. Some of these quilts can be seen in her book Creating Celebration Quilts available on her website www.MoonlightingQuilts.com. Cyndi is a Juried Artist Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates and a BERNINA Ambassador. Follow her blog at www.MoonlightingQuilts.WordPress.com, follow her on Twitter @CyndiSouder, and like her on www.Facebook.com/CyndiSouderQuilts.
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