Journey Series



About the Journey Series

The Journey Series is composed of seven intimate quilts, which explore the process of forgiveness. Memory is integral to this journey, as one cannot forgive what is forgotten. Piecing a quilt top is like reconstructing memory, pulling the fragments of your life together in such a way as to make sense of it all. Quiltmaking is an intercession to my Mennonite heritage where quilts and gardens were two acceptable expressions of beauty, as both were utilitarian. To make a quilt for the wall (art) is a radical act in conservative communities. Similarly, forgiveness is a bold adventure, since it marks the beginning of a journey toward healing and peace. Forgiveness is freeing.

Making quilts in series allows me to see how both an idea and I change with repetition and time. With these quilts I use grids, stains, and red to explore forgiveness. Grids order, imprison, represent power, and map the process of forgiveness. In some quilts, grids break down; in the same way that forgiveness dissolves barriers. Grids represent the lush farmlands surrounding my childhood home and their rigid order mimic church patriarchy. Stains, frayed edges, and disintegrating cloth are the acts of betrayal that precede forgiveness: adultery, discrimination, murder, rape, war. Red is remembrance. Red is anger, hate, violence, and bloodshed; and it is courage, strength, boldness and vitality.

Hand quilting and unbound edges exemplify forgiveness. Hand quilting slowly and methodically maps the forgiveness journey with blood, repetition and time. Unbound quilts are ongoing, like the imperfect, unruly process of forgiveness.

Karen Thiessen
November, 1999