Chile Trip and gifts of quilts

With sister Patty

I have been absent a lot from quilting, and one reason is that I spent a good chunk of time in South America, visiting my relatives.

Although almost everyone important to me is now in the U.S., I still have a dear half-sister, as well as her larger extended family, to go visit. They really love quilts, which is something that simply does not exist in Chile. In fact, my sister’s friend even once commissioned a quilt from me, which I wrote about here. So when I finally, thanks to a 50-year high school reunion, decided to go for a visit, I decided to give quilts to as many of my relatives as possible.

I rounded up a lot of quilts I had in different stages of completion and places. Luckily, I was able to put 13 quilted gifts together before I boarded the plane.

With the help of my sister Patty and niece Claudia we decided which quilt would best suit each recipient, since I wasn’t sure what would appeal to each one–I hadn’t seen them in a while!

The quilt gift exchange occurred right around the time of a Chilean Independence Day celebration (Dieciocho de Septiembre), and an earth-shattering earthquake that added a whole new dimension to my trip!  I guess it makes sense that I would be there at a time to experience the 2 things that most differentiate my country.

As well, I got to see my cohorts from the class of ’65 from St. John’s Villa Academy of Santiago, Chile! What a trip it was to see everyone, so many years later:

high school reunion!

In any event, I’m going to take the liberty of posting here the pictures of everyone from my family who received a quilt on that day:

My sister, Patricia
Nicolas (“Nico”), my grand-nephew
Santiago, another grand-nephew
Santiago (Chago), my brother-in-law
My grand-niece Maria Fernanda (“Feñi”)
My great-grand-nephew (heavens!), Benjamin (“Benja”)
Grand-niece Maria Ignacia (“Nachi”)
Niece Claudia
Grand-niece Maria de los Angeles (“Kanki”)
Niece Carmen Gloria
Niece Patricia (Pato)
Gaby, who only got a quilted pillow because she had received a quilt from me less than a year ago

This exchange shows me how precious an art form quilting is. Even though it takes about as much effort and expertise as other art forms, it is a very giving medium. For starters, most of what a quilter produces is to be used, touch, enjoyed – unlike traditional art forms that are meant just to be looked at. Quilts are some of the biggest art forms I know that allow an artisan to express style and convey an artistic expression, while at the same time having a giving component of sharing love and warmth.

The love aspect of it gives quilts their true meaning. They transcend looks and utility – true love and companionship can be shared and expressed via quilts. Quilts have a way of drawing families together, regardless of the time-space component that keeps it separated, in a true warm and loving way. It is the same as with charity quilt work, where we are giving of our effort, but much more than that, we are giving beauty and hope.

This is one of the reasons I have given myself so earnestly to the craft at this stage of my life.

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