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Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Take Joy!" - An Essay

Anyone who is familiar with the life and work of Tasha Tudor associates the words "Take joy" with her. As an active writer and children's book illustrator, the artist was inspired by the statement of a fifteenth century monk, Fra Giovanni Angelico, who said: "The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy." He was a painter, too, which may be one reason that Tudor discovered his words. The whole quotation (the original source of Tudor's phrase) was found in an article in Piecework magazine, March/April 1997.

Just look around and it is easy to see people who look troubled and who seem to be carrying the weight of the world on their backs. Feeling the burdens of age, illness, or simply responsibilities can leave an individual so tired or in pain that "taking joy" does not seem like an option. Yet, we can all find things in life to enjoy, no matter what our circumstances.

Art is a therapeutic venue and it does not have to be "high" art or techniques only learned through expensive classes or an college art education. For example, today I am coloring...with crayons, but on muslin fabric that was silk-screen printed by someone else. I am taking joy in this endeavor. The subject matter is Sunbonnet Sue "babes" doing this and that: catching butterflies, fishing, etc. and the blocks are associated with letters of the alphabet such as "e" for "elephant." The project is quite fun and is one I purchased from Kim Bunchunk years ago now. A smile comes to my face when I sit down to work on these tiny blocks for a miniature quilt.

With quilting projects, it is fun to jump in and try something new, even if one does not fully know what they are doing. There are few mistakes that cannot be disguised in some manner. The importance of any project is to "Take joy!" Think about the person for whom the end project will be given or consider how nice a quilt will look on a bed, a wall, or hanging in a quilt show, possibly with an award ribbon it. I urge you today to be an observant and committed quilter, that is, be aware of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Most of all, take joy in your work!

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