I took my first quilt classes from Leslie about 12 years ago and I have always loved Leslie's quilts. I love her use of color and fabrics to create works of art. Second, I just love Leslie. She is one of those calm, gentle, and wise souls that you want to be around, if only to absorb that calmness and wisdom by osmosis. Her thoughts that night were exactly what I needed in the middle of the January 'blah's'.
Here is Leslie speaking about life and about her quilts. (sorry, blurry inside photo.) Last summer I summarized Leslie's advice for quilters that she shared at a trunk show. This time, the audience was mostly non-quilters, and the thoughts were about simplifying life and valuing and enjoying the basic tasks of each day. The hall where she spoke was covered in Leslie's quilts. I think there were nearly 100. I was so inspired - both visually and emotionally - that I thought I would try and give a few glimpses of the evening, but I definitely won't do any of it justice.
Plain and Simple: A Woman's Journey to the Amish by Sue Bender, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Gift from the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh - as well as scripture. I love each of these books and their reminder to put life in perspective and to really examine, and value, what matters most. Freedom and peace come with simplification.
Leslie spoke about Gratitude and the importance of counting our blessings daily in prayer or in a journal of some kind. Gratitude helps us to want less and cherish what we have more. When we want less we start to see how little, not how much, we can get a long with.
Learn to like what doesn't cost much: trees, music, simple food, people, work, gardening, fixing things... Learn to keep all your wants simple and not to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.
Value your day and live each day to it's fullest. As Sue Bender learned from her time with the Amish, they were not trying to hurry through necessities to get to the 'important things' - instead, clutter and hurry were replaced with inner calm as all their tasks were important and valued.
Quilts summon "warmth, love & home." They are an American art form of common women - with simple scraps they created works of art to warm their families, brighten their homes, and sometimes bury their loved ones. Make quilts with significance to you.
Finally, we'd better learn from everything that we go through. Difficult times refine us and have the power to make us stronger human beings.
There you go. I hope those thoughts are encouraging for you like they were for me.
For any skimmers (don't worry, I'm one myself sometimes) I did not make any of these quilts. They were all made my Leslie Ison.
If you are looking for the patterns for any of these quilts (I get emails often after posts like this) check Geoff's Mom's Pattern Company as Leslie has created some of, and sewn many of, their patterns.