Today my dear friend Tasha and I
braved heavy rain (...better than snow!)
and hopeless windshield wipers
to travel to Lowell, MA to visit the New England Quilt Museum.
The major exhibit there right now
is called "The Patience to Raise the Sun:
Art Quilts from Haiti and Their Power to Change Women's Lives."
The quilts are made by a group of women
who are members of the PeaceQuilts cooperative project.
In many impoverished countries in the world,
women are coming together to use their skills
to better their families. In Haiti, PeaceQuilts members create
beautiful, vibrant and inspiring quilts
for sale abroad.
It was not possible to photograph the quilts that were in the exhibit.
Understandable, but such a shame--I wanted you
to see them all.
There were smaller quilts in the museum shop
that I was able to photograph, to
give you an idea of the work of these talented women.
As Haiti is a warm country, there hasn't been a long
tradition of quilt making on the island.
Recently, however, quilting techniques
have been taught to island women--
and they have incorporated national and cultural themes
to make these wonderful wall hangings.
There are repetitive themes in these quilts--
the life-giving sun, the tree of life, abundant fishing stock,
and rich and varied foliage.
...a multitude of visual expressions of hope and plenty.
This, despite the desperate poverty that haunts most
Haitians, their lack of opportunity,
the rampant deforestation of their mountainous country,
and the ongoing horror caused by
the devastating earthquake in Jan. 2010.
The quilts speak for themselves.
(This, sewn to the the back of the quilt above,
telling the quilt's title, the name of its maker, and
the time it took to create the quilt.)
(Ditto for the quilt above...words in the island
dialect, a combination of French, West African,
English, and probably lots more.)
The project is a worthy one--helping to lift up
families in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere
through the patient and beautiful work
of the mothers, sisters and daughters of
Donations to this cause are welcome (see above link.)
This is one of many wonderful ways to honor a friend
or relative during the holiday season--
to make a donation in their name to a cause that
benefits people who have next to nothing.
So much better than buying more "stuff"
for people who often have more than their share of material goods.
Then we went to lunch, for a vegetarian meal
that couldn't be beat, just around the corner.
The food is delicious, but my favorite part
of this restaurant, and what brings me back,
is the bathroom.
(a wine cork frieze over the water closet)
...a little reading material...
and beauty and inspiration on every wall.
Amazing to me, the power of art to make the world a bit brighter.
Thank you, artists everywhere!