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Microcosms vs the Privilege of Being a Duggar


backyard sylph

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Bear with me for two minutes, and the point will arrive. I launched into quilt-making two years ago, because I wanted to do more paintings but with cloth. I made some crazy quilts by hand, then got a machine and started learning. I can do lots of patterned blocks now, but recently after finishing a top with 141 blocks in it, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted, so I’ve gone back to my “art.” Putting things together just the way I see them fitting.

And I ran across this wonderful website about a terrific group of women. I’ve been reading their short biographies as a kind of inspiration. Their quilts are beautiful in various ways. Some are truly art, like, you just think wow, I’d buy a ticket to see that. Some are pretty and sweet, some show keen minds for color, others for design, most simple, some complex. Just as it might be with any group of people. Some loners, some more outgoing, all survivors.

Their lives were so hard. But nearly every one of them just worked and worked and worked, making these things either as a respite or purely for need or because they were expressing creativity the way we all need to, using whatever material they could obtain.

I don’t much care for the word “privilege” tossed around the way it is these days, but when I compare these women and their lives to the Duggars, well.

I mean, I live a very privileged life compared to many people. Lots of it is hard, but that’s mostly invisible to an outsider. And I could have it so much worse. I have had it much worse, that’s partly how I know. I do not take what I have here for granted. It won’t always be this way, but I’ll be okay. And the chasm between  Jim Bob Duggar's carelessly broad view and the strong women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama is something to wonder at. And the idea of Michelle visiting them and calling them precious, which just popped into my head, makes me a little ill. And their missionary son-in-law...

Scroll down and click to read some of their biographies. When people talk of the tapestry of life, of this country, for good and for ill, they surely mean all the threadwork and weaving, not just the scene viewed from a distance. It's all just stories to most of us, but we should still be learning from them. Here's the wikipedia page with references, etc.

 

 

http://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/gees-bend-quiltmakers

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I love the Gees Bend ladies. I got the opportunity to meet them several years ago and hear them speak and song about their art and lives. It was moving and magical. 

 

I will be thinking more about what you said about the comparisons between  the Duggars worldview and theirs.

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@librarianjojo that's really cool. I think it's so interesting how people are still living in pockets of the world where the community is still somewhat (and sometimes mostly) enclosed. We have a lot we can still learn to appreciate about each other, and I am sure we understand and care for each other better when we have these opportunities.

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24 minutes ago, Kailash said:

@backyard sylph Thank you so much for posting this thread! It's given me a lot to think about, a lot to learn, and so much to just look at. 

Good to know! I have been sharing that website all over the place, because it's just making me so glad and inspired.

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On 8/2/2017 at 7:48 AM, backyard sylph said:

Some are truly art, like, you just think wow, I’d buy a ticket to see that.

I was fortunate enough to see an exhibition of a selection of the quilts a couple of years ago.  In addition to the exquisite quilts, there were exhibits of various textile artistry.  Absolutely marvelous.  If you get a chance, buy that ticket!

Thanks for posting this.  :smile:

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Thanks for posting this @backyard sylph. I've been utterly absorbed for over an hour. Louisiana Bendolph's biography really brought things to life for me, especially her emotion at realising that her great grandmother was essentially living on through her quilts being displayed. It's powerful stuff.

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46 minutes ago, EmainMacha said:

Thanks for posting this @backyard sylph. I've been utterly absorbed for over an hour. Louisiana Bendolph's biography really brought things to life for me, especially her emotion at realising that her great grandmother was essentially living on through her quilts being displayed. It's powerful stuff.

Yes, her story is one of my favorites, and actually the one that spurred me to start sharing it with everyone. It spoke to me.

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