"NEW" QUILTING BEE
Copyright 2003 - Barb Grainger
Momma's kitchen table was
always a 'comfort' place for me. She was my best friend, confidant, mentor and
spiritual guide. One day I sat at that table, a young mother of three seeking
her advice on how to raise my little family. As I sipped my coffee, she
reminisced about her childhood. Her word pictures took me back to a simpler
time when she and other children played under large quilts as my Grandmother and
the other ladies of the church quilted and added finishing touches to their
works of art.
The children - literally
surrounded by their mothers, grandmothers and mentors listened and learned as
the women laughed, cried, sang, told stories, gave each other advice, or
recipes or just loved on someone who was going through a hard time. Through
example, knowledge and wisdom infused a new generation. Mother often spoke
fondly of those days, and in turn, passed that wisdom on to me and my sisters.
Mother passed away in 1987.
How I miss her! Now, I sit with my best friends - my daughter and teenaged
granddaughters, reminiscing about my childhood and pass the wisdom to them. But
instead of quilting, we bead. We bead a happy memory, a moral lesson, a
comforting word, weaving a circle of wisdom and love which will be passed down
to future generations.
I often hold a vintage piece
of beadwork in my hands and wonder who made it. What was she like, what were her
dreams; her hopes and desires? Was she young, old, rich or poor? Then I thank
her for passing down her wisdom, techniques, color sense and love of beading.
For, had it not been for our beading grandmothers ‘passing down the wisdom,' we
would not have the knowledge we do today.
For several years I taught a
weekly beading class at Lupine Gallery in Sandy, Oregon. During those years we
formed strong friendships and often laughingly remarked how our classes were
similar to therapy sessions. We discussed women's issues and commented on how
women have always found ways to support each other, even if it was "just over
the back fence and a cup of coffee".
Now, years after the bead
store closed, we still sit together around one of our kitchen tables laughing,
crying, telling stories, beading, giving each other advice and recipes, or just
loving on someone who is going through a hard time. Over the years we have
loved each other through accidents, deaths, joys, marriages, tough times,
victories and great losses. One day I looked at these wonderful women and
thought about my Mamma and her Quilting Bee stories. My heart gulped and I
fought back tears as I said to myself, "This is the New Quilting Bee! I
am so grateful for you all!"
As I travel the country
teaching beadwork, I find the story is the same all over. There are New Quilting
B's popping up everywhere; beading women, mentoring women and loving each
other! As I teach my workshops and listen to the stories the ladies share, I
look at these wonderful beading women in New York, California, Florida, South
Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Long Island and all the other places I
have taught and say, "I am so grateful for you all!"
contact Barb at
Barb Grainger :)