Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sew...BIRTH? Yes we did!

On Sunday eight amazing women gathered with GeorGina and I at Piece Together at Woolloongabba. Thank you to Tammy from Piece Together for allowing us to use her gorgeous space, filled with everything we needed. And thank you for your early Sunday morning start!
GeorGina led the group through a process of meditation, mindfulness and art. With their feelings, memories, beliefs and hopes in mind, each participant chose fabrics and a blank quilt approx. 10" x 14"...
Over the next 7 hours, these...
...became THESE!
Aren't they stunning?! The women AND their creations?! Yes! Huge congratulations to the women for their amazing creations, especially given many had minimal sewing experience and they got them finished in a day. But back to the beginning of the quiltmaking process... Participants started by selecting fabrics:
Cutting out shapes and playing with the "elements":
Ironing the pieces onto fusible webbing, so the pieces could be ironed onto quilts:
Starting to sew them down (and having a giggle):
The finished quilts! Click on each to see them in more detail: Jo shared her reflections on her experience: I love my quilt. And so does the rest of my family! I love the colours, the design and most importantly, feel so pleased that I have FINALLY done something that clearly represents what birth personally means to me. The process was really enlightening. I hadn't realised the depth of my grief for leaving behind my birthing days. It's crystallised for me that I can hold that grief simultaneously with my acceptance of it and the excitement I feel about the next phase of my life.
I also tried free-motion quilting for the first time and I loved THAT process and feels like it's a bit like birth is for me - learning to let go and just go with the flow and being present - AND it was a whole lot of FUN! Jo
Stacey of the blog Domestic Artisan has been incredibly generous by sharing what her quilt means to her: My quilt is a reflection of my current space while looking forward to where I want to be. The process was both liberating and daunting at first. Trying to put all my emotions into one piece was a challenge but I am really happy with the way it was born. The overall feeling is to move from darkness into light.
The stone at the bottom representing my past birth hurt (with the yellow flower representing my spirited, beloved child) while the tree represents my journey. Moving from hurt, pain and the need for control to acceptance, understanding and empowerment with knowledge. At the top of the tree; mind, body and soul are shown as a reminder that all of these are of equal value and are core to birthing. The extra flowers at the bottom represent our hope of future children, while the blue flower space being the community I have found that has embraced me and given me strength. Finally the words that I sewed on to the quilt: in the stone is "Pain" and "Control", a reminder of what I am leaving behind, while in the branches of the tree are "Safe" and "Belief" which is what I am moving towards. Stacey, Domestic Artisan
It was a day of connection, richness and discovery for me - I found I LOVE teaching quiltmaking! It brought me such joy and purpose to guide the participants through the quiltmaking process by answering technical questions and supporting them to find their own answers to their creative questions. I am very grateful to the women for their trust in allowing me to support them on their creative journey and also share their experience on my blog. My heartfelt thanks to GeorGina (front row, centre, below) for her incredible presence and integrity in creating a safe space for the participants to explore what birth means to them. I am so thankful for her encouragement and support to run the workshop.
And finally, gratitude to Renee Hoffman and her amazing caesarean quilt. Sharing your process planted the seed for us for Sew...BIRTH?, we thank you for your inspiration. I am already looking forward to running this workshop again as well as others - workshops for mothers and daughters, midwives and birthworkers, blessingways - the possibilities are endless! Please email me if you would like to register your interest for future workshops. I'm feeling moved to do another quite soon! ♥ melissafox at optusnet dot com dot au


  1. I can't express how much I wish I could have been there, it was in my thoughts all weekend! The quilts turned out lovely.

  2. So much colour and joy! well done to you all.

  3. What a special day of creation to honour the journey of becoming mothers. I also was thinking of you all on the day and imagining the expansion of love and connection to life that you must all have been feeling. Well done Melissa and Georgina, and all the participants. Thank you for sharing it too. I eagerly await the news of the next one!

  4. Gives me goosebumps looking back at this day. It was such a great day, and provided more healing than I had anticipated. Thank you again so much. I have passed along an award to you, please drop by to check it out:

  5. I feel emotional reading this ... It reminds me there's so much I'd like to connect with, process and celebrate/mourn about the powerful experience that is birthing. Defo want to come to your next one!
    Chrissy xx