At the top of my late friend, Christine Thresh's blog were these words:
"We are born to cloth. It is the second thing we touch after our mother."
I don't know if those were Christine's words or if she was quoting, but they always stopped me and made me smile. I, like many others, were drawn, early on, to the touch of cloth and chose to make it my favored medium.
I remember, as a child, running my fingers over the quilt made by my great grandmother. It was worn and well-used, but my favorite for wrapping myself in if I was staying home from school with a cold, or for spreading on the grass under a tree in the backyard for summertime reading. I felt the hills and valleys of her hand stitches and examined the sweet patterns of the depression-era fabrics. My mother would point to a fabric—"grandma had an apron made from this. And this one too. This is from one of my dresses..." At night, in the dark, I would run my fingers over the embroidered flowers and crochet trim along the edges of my pillow case, soothing myself into sleep. The work of women, cloth.
It seems wrong that our work in cloth hangs alongside "do not touch" signs. Oh, I understand the need to protect it from ice cream cones and greasy fingers, but when I sometimes see viewers impulsively reach out toward the work for a quick touch it secretly pleases me. I understand. We are born to it, the touch of cloth. So, here is my offering, reaching back to the traditions of quilts and hand embroidery, made to be touched.. Please touch. Close your eyes, run your fingers over the surface, feel the texture of stitched cloth, the softness of embroidery, the path of the thread. Remember the touch of cloth that has comforted and warmed you since your beginning.