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by Miriam J. Walker
Perceiving beauty in all its myriad forms is both thrilling and moving. Creating beauty has even more special rewards. Imagine being the artist who brushes awesome beauty onto his canvas with his oils and watercolors—the carver who transforms a block of wood into a fish, a fowl or a furry beast—the composer who hears awesome music in his head and transfers it to paper that musicians may play it for all to enjoy—the sculptor who sees in a chunk of marble a David, a Pieta, an angel, a child, or an eagle with outstretched wings.
I was not blessed with the talent of a Rembrandt, a Rachmaninoff, or a Rodin, yet I, too, like you, can create beauty, albeit in a humbler, more practical way. I make patchwork lap quilts for the patients at the local veterans hospital. The process seems to be utterly random, yet each finished quilt is beautiful in its own small way. I begin by choosing my color scheme. It may consist of squares of certain colors, or I may run the rainbow. The size of the squares is often determined by the size of my scraps of fabric. Sometimes I make the squares from triangles or strips of fabric in varying widths which I sew together in variations of the Log Cabin pattern. It doesn’t seem to matter what method I use, they all have beauty when finished.
Last Christmas my daughter gave me a stack of fabrics known as fat quarters. These are cut from 45” quilt fabrics. Therefore, they are fatter than a true quarter of a yard. These fabrics differ from my lap quilt fabric in that they have a richer sheen, and the patterns are mainly abstract. I make potholders, pillows and wall-hangings from these lovely materials. These items take much smaller squares and more of them—from twenty-five or thirty-six up to one hundred and forty-four. Again, I can choose all rich colors, or run the rainbow through all the light, medium and darker shades. I can alternate light with dark, or sew them together randomly. They never fail to come together in beauty, and they never fail to bring me pleasure at the sight.
I give these mini-treasures to my children and grandchildren in the hope that they will recognize not only the explicit beauty of them but also the beauty implicit in the fact that their mother or grandmother made them especially for them.