Okay now, so this is clearly not a Christmas picture, at least not here in Utah in December! This is a photo I took several years ago when I was fortunate enough to be able to travel from Beijing, China to Lhasa, Tibet on a train and I saw this rainbow. The entire trip was extraordinary; this rainbow just a symbol of how remarkable every interaction and every place we stopped was along the way. Before I began sewing and quilting over this past year, I was drawing and working with colored pencils, trying to capture the intense colors that are depicted in the amazing religious and cultural art of the Tibetans. I'll share some of that in some of my future blogs. The colors and images are stunning--lots of vibrant colors used both in religious art and also to depict nature. I've started to think about using textiles (which the Tibetans also do), but through a modern quilting approach to capture some of the Tibetan images and colors which are still swirling around my head.
Tied to this project idea for me is also the idea of gratitude and generosity. The Tibetans have experienced (and continue to experience) oppression and occupation at the hands of the Chinese (although there are dissenting perspectives on the history of the relationship between these two lands), but the grace and persistence and generosity of the Tibetans I met was extraordinary. I had powerful interactions with men, women, and children there during the too short time I visited and the deep spirituality and presence of those people stay with me.
This leads me to my wanting to find more ways in my life in general to give more of myself to others to improve the condition of the world around me. Karen and I participated in a very modest way recently in a Christmas drive organized by an amazing young teenaged woman who works at a favorite cafe of ours. On her own she spearheaded a drive to get toys and items of need for children and their single moms who were re-starting their lives after difficult circumstances. Proving that one person can make a significant impact, this young woman inspired enough volunteers to contribute enough to support almost 100 families! In addition to the toys and other goods that we donated, I made Christmas stockings for the children and their mother, so that they would have something special of their own every year to pull out to remember that they are special. I have so enjoyed the personal gratification of designing and creating new things, but I am mindful of how fortunate I continue to be in my life, so I am committing this year to donate a good portion of what I sew to charity.
With this idea of paying it forward in mind, although perhaps in a slightly different way, I'm picking up on Janine at Rainbow Hare Quilt's 'pay it forward' post, and offering my very own goodie giveaway! First, I suggest that you check out Janine's fabulous blog. She's so creative and has been a wicked busy bunny sewing away in preparation for Christmas (sure, just make the rest of us look bad!). I participated in something like this last year through Facebook and I was floored by the amazing painting that a friend sent me. Nothing more special than a handmade goodie, especially when it comes unexpectedly sometime during the year!
So, here's the deal:
1. I will make a handmade goodie for the first Three people to comment (I'm trusting I have that many people who stop by occasionally to read my blog??!). I will happily send internationally.
2. The goodie will arrive sometime during 2012 (when you least expect it!!)
3. You've gotta pay to play . . . you must commit to send a handmade goodie to the first 3 people to respond to the blog post that you will post on your own blog
4. You must have your own blog (so that you can post your own pay it forward post!)
5. When you leave a comment, I'd welcome a suggestion of how we can add a twist to this pay it forward "game" that includes a pay it forward to the universe element . . . .