Nov. 6th and 7th with a workshop on the 8th
The Oxford Quilters' Guild was treated to a visit by Bill Stearman for two meeting presentations and a workshop day. Bill has been a quilt maker for 5 years and in that time, he has made 90+ quilts. In Bill's own words, "I'm a quilt maker, but I'm also a storyteller. I was a storyteller first. " Bill invites his audience into his life in a way that is highly personal and also intellectual. He took us on a journey that had us laughing, commiserating, and at times crying. He is passionate about his mission and view on life and Bill's enthusiasm is contagious. His grandfather used to say, "It's the same world no matter how we look at it--see it positively".
On the surface, Bill's gratefulness for an amazing life would seem incongruous with his journey into quilt making as Bill began sewing as a substitute for pain pills. I won't elaborate here on how this happened because you really need to hear the story from Bill's own lips. I leave this tidbit as a hook to wet your appetite. Bill has suffered throughout his life with Depression and finds January to be an especially difficult time for him. Quilting has been instrumental as a healing activity in dark times. The incongruity of Bill's quilting through depression lies with the positive expression he communicates with his quilts.
Two quilts in particular I would like to cite-- "Power of One" and "For the Oppression of LGBTQ2 Communities, We Apologize". It matters what we see and do. Every individual has power and he/she needs to use it for the betterment of society. The "We Apologize" Quilt is the quilt that Bill wants to be remembered for. It will eventually hang in the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba. That quilt is a celebration of the speech Prime Minister Trudeau delivered on November 28, 2017 and also a commemoration to members of the LGBTQ2 community as Bill built the quilt using text examples from experiences of the LGBTQ2 population.
I was lucky to attend on Friday, Bill's Workshop - Double Disappearing 9-Patch Variations. Bill's experience as a teacher was definitely an asset as he had us engaged the entire six hours with hands-on activity. It was basically 4 mini-lessons with a completed piece at the end of each. He even had group work as a culminating activity in the end where we were applying improv piecing to a larger product. Our time with Bill flew by. I was so positively psyched up that I went home and made up my own improv project.
Stay tuned for our Bill Stearman Glossary that will follow in a few days.
Your Quilt Muse