Walking Out Transformation


Detail quilt top #3
Detail quilt top #3 made at Penland

Moments in life are full of unexpected changes. The older I get the less I understand about people and circumstances. I do know a few truths, one of which requires me to stay in the moment in order to walk out my purpose. Mat Randolph described four traps set for all of us in life as self, silver, sloth and sex. I review them in my head each day and try to avoid them. Drama seems to be the hurricane that blows me into one of life’s traps. Staying clear of drama requires constant vigilance because so many people thrive on it. Drama can spawn a tornado that can suck the creative energy out of me but it’s also a painful part of transformation.

Penland School of Crafts is my “Go To” place for transformation. The energy of the Mountain is like a lightening rod that channels rapid creative growth and development through creative hands adventures. For me, two weeks at Penland equals two years of grad school working 20 hours a day for seven days each week. This change is dramatic when seen through the quilt I made before Penland and those made during the 5th Summer Session in Upper Textiles.

Simple Geometric Quilt
Quilt Made Before Penland Transformation

Returning to quilting was my momma’s prayer and a promise that I made to her as she was dying. She asked me over and over again to make art using fabric and thread techniques I learned as a child to tell our stories of living in Eastern and Coastal North Carolina. We are a people from the black sandy soil who survived in the swamps, traveled the rivers and historic Algonquin trails and hid in plain sight for the last 300 years. We are the remnant of the Tuscarora Nation, mixed with West African blood that followed the “flying geese” and “sailboat” quilt patters east to Roanoke Island. We are also “Daughters of the American Revolution” and “Daughters of the Confederacy.” We are all the people of this land from the Pea Island and Chicamacomico to Fort Neyuheruke to Indian Woods. I and all my mother’s: Doris, Minnie, Harriet, Anne, Mattie and Mary are all connected through fabric, thread, natural dyes and fibers. My purpose is to tell our stories of survival, love, lost, joy, heartache, laugher, birth, death, hope, happiness, faith and forgiveness by exploring the “What If” possibilities of improvisational accidental geometric piecing on indigo dyed fabrics with a dash of other dyed colors for bling.

Quilt Top Red, White & Blue
2nd Quilt Top Made at Penland

Published by Carola Jones, Artist

Indigenous Artist, Writer, Designer | Internet Techie | Pow Wow Dancer | Lover of Dyeing Cloth Especially With Indigo, Madder & Marigold | 4th Generation Hand Embroidery & Sewing Enthusiastic | Working Traveler | NC Toisnot & Mattamuskeet Tuscarora & FL Seminole | Algonquin Gullah Mixed Blood

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