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  • Todd DuBay

WHY DO I QUILT?

Megan gets it.


I get asked this a lot.


The easy (and honest) answer is that I do it for the pure "joy of quilting". I know it sounds cliché, but really, it's true! I'm one of those rare individuals that LOVES every step of the process. "From designing to binding" is my familiar battle cry. Yeah, in some weird way . . . even the seam ripping! (the sensation of those tiny little threads snapping under my seam ripper is akin to popping bubble wrap, if you know what I mean)


And after an unusually long, trying and exhausting day . . . . . I was starting to ask myself the very same same question. Why am I doing this? Why am I making these little time lapse videos about quilting? To what end? Do I want to keep doing this? (the simple answer was ultimately, 'YES' . . . . . but there was lot of self-reflection that day to get to that point.)


I went thru a lot of wishy-washyness with my own revelations that wasn't a great deal of help in seeking the answers to what I was looking for. But, it was the arrival of an email from my cousin Megan, at the end of the day, that finally helped me see the brightest, illuminating light. I don't know how it happened, but I firmly believe she was in my head that day (somehow) . . . listening to every word I was agonizing over. She may have thought that she was just simply replying to me in a conversation between us that was already under way, but boy, oh boy . . . . . she hit the nail right squarely on the head! I'll admit it . . . she knows me better than I know myself (or cared to admit out loud).


This blog entry is about me.

This blog entry IS me!

Warts and all . . . .



*We join the conversation about naming my last quilt, in my previous blog post, already in progress;



This quilt looks like a "Klimt Cuddle"--right? Because we cuddle in quilts, and this one looks like a Klimt painting! ~ Megan


"I just casually asked, “Your thoughts?” when considering a name change. I truly wasn’t expecting anyone to respond to that. Really! But just the opposite happened. It’s opened up a floodgate of responses and suggestions for new names. And ALL of them good!! Now I’m sort of thinking there’s something to that. I’m starting to play around with the idea of including ALL of these suggestions, with all these names . . . all on one label (or a series of labels), with each person’s contribution. A way of showcasing the whole community that’s behind this. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever done something like this. This is really appealing to me at the moment . . . ~ Todd "


"Ha! Of course you would find a way to make us all feel comforted, hopeful, happy, and “as if we are one,” which is what your idea does—love it! Leave it to the quilter to bring us together! Wasn’t this an art where people came together to make quilts together (talk, share, comfort one another, while in “quilting circles”)? Your quilts are not just amazing, they are pure love. Every stitch stitches us all together (as I said, like a big hug!). We are all wrapped in your loving, compassionate, quilt circle. You are in the fabric of our lives and our hearts. Your sweet stitches radiate out like concentric circles wider and wider and cover us all like we are all in your cuddle circle. How was someone as emotional and loving as you get born into this world?

In my own personal observation (since I'm really always learning about you), you are a deeply flawed, frustrated, stressed person who has anger and tantrums, like all of us—and then, feels bad about that, and quilts his heart out until he feels he has made amends and been forgiven—all the while having his dogs watching, and talking to his beloved dogs, about his feelings throughout the projects. I literally have no idea, but something is driving this level of exhaustive work—so detailed, so time consuming, so monk-like, on resulting works that are more symbolic and beautiful than they are functional/practical—but that is the “why” part! Like your email signature below, from the Big Bang Theory . . .

This is not the easy way to make a blanket—It is the hardest way—so why then? Because it shows the love! How much does a person have to love you, or your baby, or whatever, to give and give hundreds of hours to you? The thought behind it alone would be enough if a machine made it! So, all that effort is because…it brings huge wealth? Appreciation? [My guess is there is drastic under-appreciation. It must be soul crushing whenever you give these quilts away, and there's not even so much as a simple thank you in return.] Is it a 'satisfaction at the end' result? [My guess is they never satisfy you, never turn out exactly as you wanted, are never really good enough in your eyes, and you immediately, insatiably, look to the next one to possibly “scratch that itch”(?).] Ha—I think too much and am just guessing—but whatever drives you to do these, drives you to send out these masterpieces, feels like I imagine all artists feel, which is really a compulsion, a “trying to do something, say something, express something” that is just past your conscious understanding.


Artists have said, throughout time, they do art “because they have to,” and not because they want to or choose to.


Every overachiever has something burning inside. Sometimes I laugh that I am just too content to really be great at anything (but there is a truth to that). Only when we have something to prove, or something to work out, do any of us seriously overachieve (artists/musicians, Olympians, Valedictorians, famous people, political leaders, etc.). But, perhaps, with too much “contentment” there would be just a soup of lazy people—yuck. The Big Bang Theory is about overachievers. We have to laugh at ourselves, even while we are taking ourselves too seriously! That may be the true art of surviving ourselves, and surviving this world.


I am not an artist. No talent in any category (at least not much), but I am fairly good at one unusual talent: I am a great audience person. I love art—music, quilts, paintings, movies, stand-up comedy, photographs, the art of nature, storytelling, etc.—and I have had performers come up to me after (and sometimes even during!) and comment on how attentive I am and what a connection they felt with me. Someone has to be in the audience with all this art and performance, right? That’s me then! So, no matter what you are “really like,” the result is that your art speaks volumes! The love from it is wonderfully overwhelming! I feel it! I feel you making it! I feel you wanting to make the world a loving, kind, connected place! Your home is called Big Eden, right? You want your “Eden bubble” to expand to your town, and then your state, and then your country, and then out and out to the whole world—to bring the whole planet “back to the garden” (to quote Crosby, Stills & Nash, whom I adore). Well, I am on the same mission Todd. And I am as flawed and fucked up as the next person (ha!), but my heart feels deeply and I want to connect the love dots and form a huge cuddling quilt around all the pain and take it away. Maybe audience people keep artists in the creative zone. I hope so! The energy is around us all, and you are radiating out lots of love light!


Keep laughing, and yelling, and “quilting” (you literally, the rest of us figuratively with whatever we do). Big hugs to you my sweet, talented, disciplined, diligent, driven, crazy good friend! Love you Todd! ~ Megan

Megan's getting a quilt.


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