Monday, November 09, 2009

Incorporating ubuntu...or How I Spent My Weekend

Desmond Tutu is one of my favorite people in the world.  Tiny in stature, but oversized in courage and heart, he still travels worldwide on his personal mission of social justice.  One of the recurring concepts in Rev. Tutu's talks is that of ubuntu, which means, I am because we all are.   Quite simply, it's a reminder that we are all connected in so many ways....six (or less) degrees of separation.  I think that is why the social networking sites are so popular; spending time with your computer used to be very isolating.  Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace bring us back to an essential necessity--to connect with other people, rediscovering ubuntu.  Meetup takes it one step further by bringing people with like interests together, face to face, the way people used to get together

This was an exceptionally busy weekend for me.  I am in the midst of preparing for three upcoming sales, a beading class I am teaching at Nubian Heritage Quilters, plus the demands of the new studio, Inspired ACTS.  These days times is more valuable than money.

On Saturday, I headed to an annual gathering of friends at the home of the sister of one of my closest friends.  This is the 20th such gathering, and we have come together over the years to talk about a wide variety of  things...sometimes it was a book, sometimes it was a topic---breast cancer, men, financial management.  It was, and continues to be, a bonding experience.  The hostess calls it Girl Talk, and I named one of my quilts after it.  A few years ago, my friend asked me to bring my quilts so others could see them.  The first time I did it, I sold a couple, and have brought them and sold a few ever since.   While it is not the purpose of the gathering, in essence it is, because it is about supporting and listening to each other.  I am thankful for both opportunities...the opportunity to join the circle of these loving, cherished women again, and the chance to share my art with them.  I am because we all are.

On Sunday, I headed to church, and reconnected with a former intern who will most certainly make an phenomenal priest very soon. Her sermons were magic, and I made some suggestions about how she could use post-its to accentuate the annotated bible she is allowed to bring for her priest license (my words, not hers!) exam.   She and I shared a moment last year where we saw exactly the same thing on someone's jewelry.  We didn't understand that the pin should read Obama 08.  I won't say what we saw....LOL!

I headed into NYC to attend the Empire Quilters Guild meeting.  Normally we meet on the second Saturday, but sometimes our meeting room at FIT is not available.  Our speaker was a friend of mine, the talented Sherry Shine, who displayed her amazing portrait quilts, shared her artistic journey, and explains her artistic process. EQG is not a traditional quilt guild by any means; they have a very broad definition of a quilt.  I would venture to say, however, that many of them had not seen work like Sherry's, which almost always features beautiful black women.  During her talk, Sherry also explained how a workshop with Rayna Gillman expanded her creative horizons, freeing her to use everyday items to create the backgrounds for her artwork.  I am because we all are.

I had to leave the guild meeting a little early to head uptown and support a fellow member of Quilters of Color Network of NYEdward Bostick. Ed has two very different quilting styles.  One style features traditional piecing methods, but with a stunning array of colors; the other style incorporates portraits of famous African Americans. In the pictorials,  Ed incorporates the artwork of Vincent Melbourne then adds colorful piecing elements.  Most of his quilts feature lovely quilting by Janice Jamison...more ubuntu!

My final stop was a lovely visit with my mother, who is in a long convalescent stay in Riverdale (NYC).  We talked and about my art and life, and she admired a piece I was embroidering.  It was one of the best visits in recent memory.  Throughout these connections all weekend, I was repeatedly thankful for each and every one of them; they enrich me personally, professionally, all parts of my whole.  I am because we all are, indeed, Rev.Tutu.

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