Whether an artwork has moved you to tears or lifted your spirits, it’s clear that art has the power to change us and to inspire our hearts.
Below, read from Iona Special Guest Artist Lauren Kingsland on how art and quilt-making inspires her daily.
The many-colored quilts of my childhood were made by my father’s mother. How exciting it was to find scraps from my own cotton dresses in Grandma’s quilts. When I was in my thirties, I was asked to make a quilt for a client from his special collection of T-shirts. The garments were different, but the desire to use them to make quilts was familiar. This commission started me on a path of creating, teaching, and writing about making quilts using treasured garments as a way of telling a life story.
It is an honor to share quilts made over the course of my career with the Iona community, as the next featured Special Guest Artist in the Lois & Richard England Gallery at Iona. Additionally, in 2016, an individual artist grant enabled me to create a series called “Quilted Mementos” that honor the influences on my life work as a quilt artist. These pieces will hang in the atrium at Iona during the show from Feb. 6 – May 24, 2017.
Below, I share more information on my lecture series, and tips for how you can inspire your heart through a favorite item of clothing.
- A repurposed garment can be the creative starting point for a quilt, or pillow, or whatever you imagine. The old skirt gets a new life as a tote bag or the souvenir sweatshirt becomes a comfy cushion. Take an up-cycled art break, for yourself or as a gift! Art can be about making something beautiful out of what is at hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy to feed your soul.
- Choosing garments to re-use can be part of simplifying your wardrobe and your life. The box of T-shirts too precious to throw away becomes the new throw on the couch. The transformation of a loved one’s old clothing into a quilt that provides warmth and comfort connects the past to the present in a positive way.
- Your memories of the garments become part of the new project. The new table runner made of old plaid shirts becomes a focal point to share the stories of the original garments with loved ones around the table. Write the story on the back, with names and dates, and anecdotes.
It is so satisfying to work with your hands. A mind-body-spirit connection happens when your creative vision guides your hands to transform something ordinary into a beautiful new thing. As we spend increasingly more time on our electronic devices, working with our hands to shape the material world is more important than ever to help us remain balanced.
Do you use art to tell stories? Let us know in the comments!
By Lauren Kingsland
Lauren Kingsland has been making quilts professionally since 1988. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and shows and is in public and private collections throughout the country. She is dedicated to quiltmaking as a medium for storytelling, for building community and for healing and wellness. Visit her website www.laurenkingsland.com for additional information.