Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sew...BIRTH? Yes we did!

On Sunday eight amazing women gathered with GeorGina and I at Piece Together at Woolloongabba. Thank you to Tammy from Piece Together for allowing us to use her gorgeous space, filled with everything we needed. And thank you for your early Sunday morning start!
GeorGina led the group through a process of meditation, mindfulness and art. With their feelings, memories, beliefs and hopes in mind, each participant chose fabrics and a blank quilt approx. 10" x 14"...
Over the next 7 hours, these...
...became THESE!
Aren't they stunning?! The women AND their creations?! Yes! Huge congratulations to the women for their amazing creations, especially given many had minimal sewing experience and they got them finished in a day. But back to the beginning of the quiltmaking process... Participants started by selecting fabrics:
Cutting out shapes and playing with the "elements":
Ironing the pieces onto fusible webbing, so the pieces could be ironed onto quilts:
Starting to sew them down (and having a giggle):
The finished quilts! Click on each to see them in more detail: Jo shared her reflections on her experience: I love my quilt. And so does the rest of my family! I love the colours, the design and most importantly, feel so pleased that I have FINALLY done something that clearly represents what birth personally means to me. The process was really enlightening. I hadn't realised the depth of my grief for leaving behind my birthing days. It's crystallised for me that I can hold that grief simultaneously with my acceptance of it and the excitement I feel about the next phase of my life.
I also tried free-motion quilting for the first time and I loved THAT process and feels like it's a bit like birth is for me - learning to let go and just go with the flow and being present - AND it was a whole lot of FUN! Jo
Stacey of the blog Domestic Artisan has been incredibly generous by sharing what her quilt means to her: My quilt is a reflection of my current space while looking forward to where I want to be. The process was both liberating and daunting at first. Trying to put all my emotions into one piece was a challenge but I am really happy with the way it was born. The overall feeling is to move from darkness into light.
The stone at the bottom representing my past birth hurt (with the yellow flower representing my spirited, beloved child) while the tree represents my journey. Moving from hurt, pain and the need for control to acceptance, understanding and empowerment with knowledge. At the top of the tree; mind, body and soul are shown as a reminder that all of these are of equal value and are core to birthing. The extra flowers at the bottom represent our hope of future children, while the blue flower space being the community I have found that has embraced me and given me strength. Finally the words that I sewed on to the quilt: in the stone is "Pain" and "Control", a reminder of what I am leaving behind, while in the branches of the tree are "Safe" and "Belief" which is what I am moving towards. Stacey, Domestic Artisan
It was a day of connection, richness and discovery for me - I found I LOVE teaching quiltmaking! It brought me such joy and purpose to guide the participants through the quiltmaking process by answering technical questions and supporting them to find their own answers to their creative questions. I am very grateful to the women for their trust in allowing me to support them on their creative journey and also share their experience on my blog. My heartfelt thanks to GeorGina (front row, centre, below) for her incredible presence and integrity in creating a safe space for the participants to explore what birth means to them. I am so thankful for her encouragement and support to run the workshop.
And finally, gratitude to Renee Hoffman and her amazing caesarean quilt. Sharing your process planted the seed for us for Sew...BIRTH?, we thank you for your inspiration. I am already looking forward to running this workshop again as well as others - workshops for mothers and daughters, midwives and birthworkers, blessingways - the possibilities are endless! Please email me if you would like to register your interest for future workshops. I'm feeling moved to do another quite soon! ♥ melissafox at optusnet dot com dot au

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Naomi Sews...BIRTH! And you can too, this Sunday

Work in progress by Naomi Homel, using a Sew...BIRTH? quilt kit

This gorgeous small art quilt is being made by my dear friend Naomi, of the blog The Long and the Short of It. My girls and I visited her and her family last week in Sydney. I knew she was bummed to be missing my workshop my one day quilt workshop Sew...BIRTH?, being presented by The Art of Mindful Birthing this Sunday 22nd April at Piece Together in Woolloongabba. I also knew she had been wanting to make a quilt for a close friend of hers who is birthing soon.

So I packed Naomi a kit of all the materials that participants will receive in Sunday's workshop - a blank quilt canvas, some fusible webbing, fabric scraps, a hanging sleeve, some wooden dowel, cord and a sheet of instructions. Amongst a medical appointment for Lily, a trip to Taronga Zoo, many cups of tea and kids' naps, we made time to brainstorm ideas, audition fabrics from her stash and Naomi got started with a design:
Rather than a reflection of my feelings about my births, this 'Birth Affirmation Quilt' is designed to be a tool to inspire a friend throughout her upcoming labour and to celebrate her birth. I hope that the symbolism of dawn, growth, blooming, renewal, love and celebration will inspire the birthing mother on her journey to birth. I also love the overarching reference to the saying 'going to the stars to fetch your baby'. Maybe this is meant to be a landscape of labourland?
Naomi Homel, Sydney

Even though it isn't quite finished and it's a BIG SURPRISE for her friend, Naomi has kindly let me share her piece to inspire those of you who are joining us on Sunday and others who may be considering it.

There are just a few spots left. If you are interested, please go to The Art of Mindful Birthing and follow the links for details.

Looking forward to such a special day of connection and creativity!