The theme of "Shelter" could relate to only one thing for me—home. If you've been reading this blog, you know we spent the past year remodeling and moving into a new-to-us home. It has been a difficult year and discouraging in many ways as the housing market deteriorated and more recently the decline of the entire economy has thrown us all into a state of anxiety. Much of my anxiety revolves around the house we have not been able to sell as well as the new house that we are now unable to complete to our satisfaction. Still, home is and must be, a shelter from the outside world and a refuge from anxiety and fear.
I planned to use the words "my home is my shelter from the storms of life" in this piece. I started a piece using these words. In it I depicted a woman looking out a window. My intention was that she would look safe, at peace and secure inside her home. As I worked on it I realized she was, instead, reflecting my own feelings of anxiety and a degree of sadness. When I showed this in progress to my quilt group, one of them said, "well, you can save it for when the theme is 'Melancholy'." By the way, the pieces that make up the window frame are actually straight. I didn't take this far enough to even fuse them down, so they are just laid together for the photo and I didn't do it very carefully!
I moved on to another idea—the welcoming front entry to our new home. I finished this piece and stood back to look at it and realized I hated it. It felt overworked, jumbled, chaotic. Again, I'm sure, a reflection of my own mental state.
"Breathe," I told myself. "Relax." I closed my eyes and what I saw was simple. The basics of shelter. A roof, walls, support and space. Clean, uncluttered and solid. So this is my final and official response to the "Shelter" theme.
It has been a process and I think it has been instructive. I have recognized my anxiety and worked through the details and distractions to come to a realization that shelter can be both a structure and a feeling and a state of mind. And I really kind of love this piece. It feels optimistic to me and I hope that is where it has taken me.