Soon after attending the Sacred Threads exhibit, an image came to me that I continue to use and to ponder. The initial meaning of the image is about power, as in empowerment and agency. I drew and colored the image several times during the ensuing weeks and tried to figure out how to create this image in a quilt. At this point I began meeting with Beth Ann, who acted as my “quilting mid-wife” as I slowly began to birth this image. The quilt “Finding My Voice” took me more than two years to make—not because of the complexity of the technique but because of my own inner work. As spiritual directors say, I needed to “sit with the image” while quilters say, I needed to let the “quilt speak to me.” I had to ponder and wait and pray as I looked at the half-finished quilt tacked to my design wall. Eventually I came to understand that the image, and the quilt itself, it was more than just power, per se. It was about my tentative steps toward becoming an art quilter. It was about my voice as a woman. I wrote this reflection for my artist statement:
Women struggle to find and to claim their own voices. This quilt reflects my process of finding my authentic voice while trying to move beyond the boxes. When I first designed this quilt, I though the colors bursting from the white space represented my voice. While the colors moved subtly and prettily, this wasn’t quite my authentic voice. I was still stick in boxes.
My authentic voice—my story—is expressed in the appliqué spiral that moves beyond the squares. It represents my voice moving outside of the box. I chose the chakra energy colors for creativity (orange) and for voice (blue) and I understood that my spiral needed to combine these two colors as a symbol of finding my voice.
In this creative process I realized that finding my voice was the direction the Universe was calling me toward. Karla Kincannon, in Creativity and Divine Surprise, describes this process as finding one’s true self: “Creativity is honest. It comes from a place deep within that does not know how to be deceptive. By participating in the creative process, a pathway forms to inner wisdom, leading insights about the nature of our true self. One layer at a time, the creative process gently peels back the camouflage that has accumulated over years of living…When artists experience an encounter in the creative process, a glimpse of the true self accompanies it.”
I think when we create art from the soul, we do indeed live in the intersection of creativity and spirituality as we allow God to transform us through our authentic voices and becoming the collaborators with the Divine Creator.