Accepting Life’s Fire

28 Mar

In 1982, I couldn’t make up my mind which to pursue in my artistic quest, quilting or weaving. Then a job in a local quilt store was posted in the Austin American Statesman and I jumped at it. Do you remember the days of job hunting in the columns and tiny squares of newsprint? The Sunday edition always had the biggest Help Wanted section. One weekend, I hit the jackpot.

Bolts of fabric.

There it was, a part-time job in a hole-in-the-wall establishment that belonged to a mother/daughter team who claimed to be related to Willie Nelson. I don’t know about that, but they were an interesting pair who knew a lot about quilting. I applied with a little sewing experience and a lot of enthusiasm, and got the job.

I made this at the request of my mother. She collected cows. (The striped fabric)

I remember women excitedly coming into the store with ideas and patterns in hand eager to buy fabric and make magic. The shop walls were covered with bolts and more bolts of solids, calico prints, and stripes in all colors and shades. We happily pulled them off the wall and piled colors high to see the affect they would have when cut up and reassembled into a Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Log Cabin, Star of Texas or any of a million patterns old and new.

Lone Star
Notice the state of Texas quilted in the corners and armadillos across the bottom. The quilt was a gift for my mother-in-law who died of Alzheimer’s disease. It was later returned to me.

The shop owner would peruse our artistic efforts and pull out a special bolt she called the “fire”. A pink, yellow or orange fabric that was inserted into a blue, brown or green quilt. It was opposite on the color wheel. The customers would raise an eyebrow to which she replied, “trust me”.

Log Cabin
Machine pieced and hand quilted. All quilts made by me.
A variation on a Grandmother’s Flower Garden 1984
Hand pieced and hand quilted.

I am doing my best to trust life when it presents me with its “fire”, whether a pandemic, broken leg, or cancelled trip to visit the grandchildren. When the quilts were finished, sure enough, those unexpected bursts of color made them all the more beautiful. I hope I can say that about my life. The challenges teach me lessons I surely wouldn’t have volunteered for. The unexpected provides the fire, and for that I welcome it, to the best of my ability.


4 Responses to “Accepting Life’s Fire”

  1. Jan Frans March 28, 2021 at 8:43 am #

    Thanks for sharing this Alex! My sister Wanda was a seamstress and quilter and created many beautiful pieces in her life. I shared numerous trips to fabric stores with her for which I was grateful even to this day. It was her joy in life and her legacy at the end. Hugs to you Alex!

    On Sun, Mar 28, 2021 at 6:06 AM the adventures of dos tortas wrote:

    > afish25 posted: ” In 1982, I couldn’t make up my mind which to pursue in > my artistic quest, quilting or weaving. Then a job in a local quilt store > was posted in the Austin American Statesman and I jumped at it. Do you > remember the days of job hunting in the columns and ti” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 April 7, 2021 at 10:06 am #

      It is art that is tactile and functional.


  2. Emilie March 28, 2021 at 12:04 pm #

    I was interested in quilting but never did it. I did weave for a while and even had my own loom. I sold it recently because I was no longer using it. I agree with you about the fire. I’ve had several “ fires” in my life. One was huge and life-changing, but in the long run, as bad as that fire was, it presented me with several gifts I never would have received otherwise.


  3. Jack Scott March 29, 2021 at 3:56 am #

    The skill going into those quilts is amazing. As for life, well, we can’t control what it throws at us, only how we respond to it.


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