Have you ever read something that forces you to immediately stop whatever you are doing? Like when a sentence hits you with force and make you wonder how that couldn’t possibly have occurred to you before? For me, it happened when I read a quote from Neil Gaiman.
I’m a voracious reader. To me, reading is like breathing – essential. It’s simply something I must do every day of my existence to ensure that life continues. I don’t consciously think about it because it’s so well integrated into my being.
Sometimes I skim through books that satisfy me on a superficial level, while at other times I wade slowly through chapters, savouring every sentence and plot deviation as I progress. There aren’t many instances where I simply stop because the power of a statement hits me hard.
When I read this quote by Neil Gaiman, though, the impact was instant. He said: “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
Just take a moment to ponder that sentence. There is so much wrapped up in those 14 words. First there’s the implication that we are all creators and, as such, can make a difference. Then there’s the concept of contributing to the history of the world; adding value to what’s gone before. Also, there is the underlying assumption that what we make is concrete – you can see it and hold it in your hands.
That rings so true for me. Aren’t they all reasons we make quilts? It is for the pleasure of the process, for the beauty of the colour and pattern or for the happiness of giving a homemade gift. Sometimes we stitch just for the sheer delight of shaping an idea onto a piece of cloth. Other times, we pour our emotions into a quilt, working through grief or other strong feelings in an act of catharsis.
In a world that often seems out of control, the act of creation provides a spot of luminosity in our lives. It provides immense satisfaction when we are able to say – I did this and it did not exist before I created it. It is true for other types of craft as well but, for us, it is our love of working with fabric to make quilts that adds brightness to the world.
Until I read Gaiman’s sentence, I hadn’t thought this way about what my hands were making. It has altered my outlook so that I am grateful for everything I create. If I try a new technique and it doesn’t work out, there is no loss. The fact that I had bought into existence something that wasn’t present before is enough. It is my tiny spot of brightness. Won’t you think of making yours, too?