Common Threads is the unique story of a unique idea: that sewing machines, passed from one to another, can provide hope and meaning to both those who receive them and those who give. Margaret founded The Sewing Machine Project, a grassroots nonprofit, based on this concept. Common Threads shares the extraordinary journey from idea to action, with stories that inspire, challenges that are real, outcomes that are profound, and evidence that small ideas can indeed mend communities. “Listen to the sound of inspiration inside yourself. I’m talking about that voice that guides you to put your goodness into the world. Listen to that voice and then follow, for just a few steps. Follow and see what happens.“
The sewing machine is an invaluable treasure! As Margaret has shared, “This is the story of an idea, the organization the idea inspired, and the deep lessons within. Presented in snapshots, tiny windows into the idea’s growth, this frame-by-frame narrative is the only way I can think of to present it, for this is how it has been revealed to me. The idea’s profound insistence on carving its own course is undeniable.”
Indigenous Americans have been sewing, weaving, and making pottery and other crafts for thousands of years. Starting in the late 1800s, a fascinating shift took place as some makers turned their needle skills to quilting. To uncover the story of how quilting arts first took hold in the 19th century requires a look back at a tumultuous period of American history to a time when Native American culture was under attack. Indigenous lands were taken away, missionaries swarmed onto reservations, children were forced into off-reservation boarding schools, and there were countless injustices forced on Native individuals. Remarkably, in spite of this chaos, quilting emerged as a preferred form of needlearts, and this book will explain how that transformation happened.
Sewing & Survival is a thoroughly researched narrative based on original sources, diaries, personal letters, and other notes highlighting Native American voices. While quilting skills were forced on some women, others came to quilting willingly. Equally compelling is the fact that quilting remains popular in Native communities today, and in fact, quilts are the cornerstone of Indigenous give-away traditions. In addition, numerous makers have turned their artistic talent to creating gorgeous contemporary art quilts and powerful story quilts that are coveted by museums and collectors.
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