Taken from “My Faith Project | Quilting to Heal After Divorce”

With kind permission by Jennifer Haupt I am allowed to reprint this post.  I found Nancy’s exploration of crafting dear to my heart.  In art I’ve found a way to express feelings that had no words, hopes that had no definition, and a need to move forward.  When I create I explore and accomplish and make sense of a small corner of my world.  If you click the link there is a picture of her quilt.  Creating became a way I still knew I was alive. “I create therefore I am”, but enough about me.  This is Nancy’s experience.

Quilting to Heal After Divorce


Nancy Monson

Nancy Monson, author of Craft to Heal: Soothing Your Soul with Sewing, Painting, and Other Pastimes, shares how she used to quilting to find faith and heal after her divorce:

Many people use crafts to heal themselves emotionally and spiritually—to reduce stress, boost their self-esteem and work through traumatic experiences. That’s certainly how I use quilting. It’s as much therapy as recreation for me!

I first experienced the healing power of crafts when I began making a quilt while going through a divorce in the summer of 2000. I was taking a workshop that explored the use of decorative threads on quilt tops, and for some reason I decided to give myself permission to make up the quilt as I went along. I had no real plan, which is not the way I usually work at all.

So I was bold and in the process. I didn’t rush to finish this project and start a new one. I didn’t constrain myself by insisting I do things “the right way,” a dictum I had I applied to my life and my quilting. Instead, I just went along with wherever the project wanted to take me. I worked on the quilt over several weeks, and I began to see that the evolving design was expressing some of the chaos and confusion I was feeling as I went through my divorce. But as I came to the end of the project, I was disheartened by the finished product. I hated it: The quilt was a busy mishmash.

Maybe I could slide it up and re-piece it, I thought, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t cut into a piece I’d spent so many hours sewing. Instead, I decided to fold it several times on the diagonal and tack it down. And suddenly I loved the way it looked—it now had a kind of mangled, arrow shape to it, which was entirely appropriate to its purpose. It looked like it had been through an antique washing machine—just as I felt I, as a human being, had been—so I named it “My Divorce Quilt: Through the Wringer.”

Divorce Quilt

When I hung this quilt in my guild’s quilt show, it created a buzz among the attendees. One woman told me that she thought the folds were my way of trying to tuck away memories of my marriage. She even suggested that I might feel compelled to fold it further as time passed, to show how I had healed from the divorce and was moving on to a new life. I was fascinated by this insight, and suddenly realized that I had created my first art quilt! Whatever I had made—and it certainly wasn’t a typical quilt—expressed something deep inside of me. And making and showing this quilt helped me to feel whole again, this time as a single person. Just as importantly, it turned out to be a message to myself that it was time for me to pursue life without a strict adherence to a plan, to open up creatively and emotionally, and to explore life as a process, enjoying the twists and turns, rather than just rushing to the goal.

via My Faith Project | Quilting to Heal After Divorce.


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