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                                    Quilting and "CRAFT"
           Janis Maria Cortese
           Newsgroups: alt.pagan
           Organization: University of California, Irvine
           Last  night I  attended the  first session  of a  first-time quilter's
           class.  While I was there listening to the teachers tell us the little
           tricks  that make quilting easier and buying all the neat gadgets that
           you use, something very fundamental struck me, to the point that I was
           unable  to speak  for  a few  minutes until  I  had acknowledged  this
           movement in my mind.
           Let  me  describe something  to you,  and you  try  to guess  what I'm
           talking about.  The characteristics are as follows:
           1) done by a group of women together, which is frequently called a
           2) handed down from mother to daughter, in a VERY hands-on fashion.
           3)  uses specialized  tools  that other  people  don't understand  and
           usually don't recognize.
           4) requires strict adherence to ritual preparation of materials.
           5) can be monotonous and repetitive -- PERFECT for meditation.
           6) can be decorative as well as practical, and frequently both.
           7) can be done entirely by hand, OR with the aid of techie stuff.
           8) causes things to come into being that other people usually call
           Sound  like Wicca?  Well, it's not,  at least not the "standard" type,
           if there  is any such  thing.  I'm  talking about the  quilting class.
           Have you ever wondered WHY so many WOMEN do it, and so few men (apolo-
           gies  to male  Witches out  there; I  discovered these  things through
           feminism)?   What else has  been so "religiously"  handed down through
           generations aside from crafting skills, and how many women do you know
           who have  a love affair  with that old  afghan that their  grandmother
           made and wouldn't part with  it for the world?  Sound familiar now?  I
           mean, REALLY.  This *can't* be coincidence!  
           I will follow  the Craft in the barest  sense of the word --  a CRAFT,
           some  talent which can be  used for practical  and beautiful purposes,
           and has all the trappings of a "true"  ritual.  (And believe me, you'd
           better adhere to the  rules hard and fast.   You must use EXACTLY  the
           required  seam allowance, and you'd better treat your cloth before you
           start sewing,  or whatever you  end up with  might as well be  a drop-
           cloth.)     And when you're done, you have  something.  You have some-
           thing to  which you can  point and  say, "That's where  the last  five
           weeks have  gone."   You can follow  a pattern established  by another
           woman, or  you can create your  own, or you  can follow a  pattern and
           personalize it with your choice of materials.
           I mean,  they're called QUILTING  CIRCLES and SEWING  CIRCLES, people?
           How much more of a HINT do you need?!?!?!
           Howzaboutit?  Anyone else interested in a coven of Crafters who
           literally craft?  I feel it deeply enough that I can finally call
           myselef Wiccan/Witch and have it feel right.  
           However, I'd rather not do this by myself.  I realize that many people
           would rather follow Wicca in a different way, but if this way feels so
           wonderful to  me, it MIGHT  be good for  others, too.   I'm not saying
           that you need to do this  the same way *I* do  it; just give it a  try
           and see  how it feels.   If you like, try  consecrating your materials
           before starting.  Make  something (I'm not just talking  quilts, here,
           but ALL kinds of crafts) with a Pagan theme.  After I finish here, I'd
           LOVE to  make a four-pane quilt with a full  moon, a chalice, a blade,
           and a tree in the panes.  
           Any feedback on this?  I can't  tell you how strongly I feel this  and
           how amazed  I am  at that  strength.   If I  really allowed  myself to
           absorb  this, I think I'd be in tears.   Maybe I'm just typing this to
           get it on "paper"; I don't know.  But I've never felt this way -- this
           sublime -- about anything connected with Paganism/Wicca before.
           THIS CAN'T BE COINCIDENCE!!!!!!!
           Janis C.

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