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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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