The thing about glitter is if you get it on you, be prepared to have it on you forever. Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies.
Demetri Martin

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Making Bread and Constructing a Family Quilt

What is it about making something with your hands that feels so therapeutic and fulfilling?

As you read in my last post, I've recently entered into the world of bread making. Making bread is a deep rooted tradition in my family. My grandmother Chaisson has achieved eternal reverence with regards to her best-in-the-world homemade bread.

When we were children, my sisters and cousins and I all lived for Nan's bread - many of us restricted to enjoying this culinary delight during summer vacation and the rare winter visit to Newfoundland. Sometimes Nan would even make bread on those extra special times when she and Pop came to visit us.

I remember watching Nan in fascination as she would knead the dough with diligence and determination; a perseverance worthy of true admiration.

Soon after my virginal introduction to making bread I had a conversation with my mother - also an accomplished family bread maker - and it was she who identified the labour of making bread as  therapeutic and cleansing. Getting in there with you hands and pounding out the hearty goodness of the dough for the purpose of providing sustenance and enjoyment for your family truly is a satisfying endeavor.

Moreover, it is a great way to purge tension - much like other physically repetitive activities such as biking or running - providing one with a clear and undistributed mind for thinking things through.
Quilting is another well rooted tradition in my family that unites productive therapeutic activity with the wholesome nature of making something meaningful for someone you love. Selecting fabrics, arranging them in ways that convey a desired mood. Combining these elements in a custom that ensures longevity with the purpose of ultimately forming a single entity designed to provide warmth and comfort is - in my books - a very effective means of expressing love.

One of the especially nice things about visiting Nan and Pop was getting to sleep in one of the old kid's rooms warmly snuggled in one of Nan's quilts. Nan made her quilts with scrap fabrics salvaged from other projects, or from worn out garments within the house - curtains, work shirts, sheets. They were the kind of quilts that hugged you - heavy, big and warm. Their myriad of patterns, fabric textures and colours gave them a unique quality and her use of re-purposed fabrics added a personal touch that made you feel safe and at home.

I am fortunate to have one of these precious specimens upstairs, where it usually resides on my Sweetheart's bed.  Decades after it's construction, my grandmother's quilt continues to embrace her family with love and warmth.

It is this degree of love that I hope to convey to my family with the making of my very own family quilt. So far in the process I have assembled my own collection of outgrown, out-fashioned, and plain warn out fabrics that have seen my family throughout its evolution.

This may take me a little bit longer than the two loaves of bread I made for my family, but it is my hope that - like the bread my grandmother made for her family - its sustenance will be felt by the people I love for a long time after its completion.  

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails