Run Away!

I am in Phoenix for QuiltCon. I got here by getting up at holy shit in the morning and packing the car and leaving by 6 AM. Hence my face.

It’s a 5-hour drive to Phoenix, which always seems doable until you’re doing it. Luckily the man came with me, so it wasn’t just me in my head. It’s a drive we’ve done all too many times. There are some interesting rocks and some ups and downs of the road and there was a moment of “did I wait too long to get gas?” (I did not…it was fine) and then we were here and I got dropped off and took my tired and sort of brain-weary self into the convention center. I bought caffeine and then they wouldn’t let me take it into the show, so I downed it one (bad plan) and headed in for my guild’s official photo (I don’t have a copy of that) in front of our donation quilt.

Later, I took a photo of ME in front of it (I think I made two blocks…couldn’t tell you which ones), because I was supposed to be posting all these pictures for our guild challenge, and I pretty much failed on all of it.

I’m going to blame my brain and/or Arizona time change. But there’s that.

One of the first quilts I saw, I looked at it and thought, “That looks like a Sheila Frampton-Cooper quilt.” I was right. This is her Dragon Dance.

Unfortunately, there was someone standing there and I was trying to get the right angle and fucked it up, so in the way of ALL quilt show photos, it’s crooked. I still love it, so there we are.

I have a ton of quilt photos, but I’m going back and forth between the iPad to get the photos and the laptop for easier typing, so I’m not going to add all of them now. But there were some…this is from one of the Social Justice Sewing Academy quilts…

It reminded me of some of the politics going on right now.

This is one of Latifah Saafir’s quilts, We Still Matter, made for the family of Steven Taylor, who was killed by the San Leandro Police. Saafir used pieces of Taylor’s clothing to make memorial quilts for his sons and grandmother, and couldn’t stand to waste any of his clothing, so this was the leftover pieces…

The quilt is beautiful in its own right, but as a symbol for Steven Taylor, it is even more stunning. The worn-out parts of his jeans as the knuckles…

Truly amazing.

I appreciate that the Modern Quilt Guild makes an attempt to showcase local groups and people of color, in this case, indigenous quiltmakers. This is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Children: Robbed of Their Innocence.

If you haven’t heard about the shocking number of indigenous children (and women, and men) disappearing with very little news coverage and/or police assistance in finding them, well you should read up on it. I’m fairly sure most of my readers are aware, but it’s something that makes me wonder. America is so obsessed with children and bad things happening to children, but only certain children…or certain women. Let’s change that. I appreciate how so much seems to be happening underground in this quilt by Susan Hudson, a Navajo/Diné artist.

We did hike on Saturday morning at Papago Park…these are the buttes.

It wasn’t a super long hike, about 2 1/2 miles, and not much elevation gain. We were testing out the man’s knee, which got injured last weekend. It was nice to get out though, after spending most of Friday in a car or in a convention center.

This mural was painted down the street from our Airbnb.

My Saturday class got canceled; the instructor tested positive for COVID. So I moved my Sunday class to Saturday. This beautiful art glass piece was in the classroom area…

It had a partner, but the sun was in the wrong place. This is Southern Exposure by Einar & Jamex de la Torre.

I took Activist Quilting, taught by Sara Trail of Social Justice Sewing Academy and some other members of the academy. I came in with a brain way too full of things I care about, but my table helped me realize that a lot of it was stuff I carry in my head as a teacher. I took this class (and the other one I was hoping to take) because I want to try to give my students an activist voice of their own. Although as the pandemic continues and some of the true beliefs of staff, superintendent, and school board members have become more apparent, it makes me realize I will have a hard time ever getting permission to do so. I always figured it would be an after-school club of some sort, once COVID is less of a restricting factor, but even that might be an issue in the district I live and work in. That said, I am training to be a facilitator of the workshops anyway, and it was nice to hear Trail and the others talk about how they do these workshops with kids and communities. It won’t be about what’s on MY mind, but what’s on theirs…and that’s what I’m interested in. I can make my own political and social issue quilts–I already do–I’m interested in helping others do the same.

Anyway, my block…

And as I look at it, there’s more I want to add, but I already handed it over. Someone else will embroider it and then hopefully it will end up in a quilt somewhere with a bunch of other blocks. That would be cool.

I also look at it and think, hey those aren’t even all MY issues, but those of my students and they have other things on their minds and it isn’t MY place to document them, but honestly, as teachers, some of our burnout comes from carrying the emotional trauma of the kids we teach. It’s hard to stomach, it’s hard to walk away from at night, and it’s hard to drive away and think you don’t have a resolution of what happened to that kid. And we do it all the time. So for me, in the space I was in, this was my social issue.

Here was my table and their blocks…strange and somewhat awkward to have these conversations with people you have just met, but it happened. The woman next to me is from San Diego and knows others in my guild, so small world?!

It was a good experience. I didn’t do any schoolwork for three days (well, mostly), which was great. I talked to cool people I’ve always wanted to meet at the Quilt National and SAQA booths and met Richard the kilt guy from Global Artisans finally, plus have some new thread and fabric to try out and two big hefty books to read. All in all a good thing. We need breaks. I do have to go to school tomorrow to grade art things and hopefully my classroom is not in disarray…well TOO much. And maybe this little break will help me get through a few more weeks of school without feeling like I’m losing my mind (definitely was the last two weeks).