Sunday, June 19, 2011

...And the Quilt is Named--"Come Dance With Me"

I was having a hard time coming up with a name for the quilt I'm currently working on. I asked my blog readers to help me come up with a good name for the quilt. My friend, Sharon, asked me the story of the quilt. She suggested that the quilt story might help me come up with a name. This is the story...

The character in this quilt was originally an 8 1/2" X 11" drawing (The character in my fabric piece is over 5 feet tall!) made by my Taiwanese foreign exchange student (Sandie Yi). I loved the drawing the first time I saw it and asked Sandie if I could make it into a fabric piece; she graciously gave her permission. Now, you need to know a bit about Sandie.

Sandie was a VERY shy girl when she came to the school where I taught in 1997. After a while, though, she made friends and learned to love the school. She loved the school and the town so much that she wanted to graduate from there, but the foreign-exchange program would not allow her to attend our school for another year. She ended up graduating from Marian Heights Academy (an academy for girls in the town). We became close friends. I even got to attend her graduation and meet her parents. That was quite an honor for me.

There is lots more you should know about Sandie. She was born with only two fingers on each of her hands and two toes on each of her feet. She used to hide her differences but never used them as an excuse not to be able to do something. For example, Sandie was in my typing class and was one of the fastest and most accurate typists I had. She says, “I grew up with being labeled as ‘disabled,’ and would often hide my hands when I was younger. Now I don't see my body is disabled/impaired at all. My hands and feet are my assets, my special traits. Art is a way for me to understand the beauty of the challenges in my life, and also as a way to adorn myself. I wish to be identified as ‘born with two fingers and two toes on each limb.'" (This quote came from a bio on Sandie. You can see the full bio here-- You can learn more about Sandie and her art at the following site. There are pictures of her and some of her art along with a great interview. That site is...

Since graduating high school, Sandie has received a BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also is in the class of 2011 at UC Berkeley working towards a Master of Fine Arts. (She may be finished by the time you read this!) She makes art for and about people who are considered by society to be "disabled." I'm REALLY proud of her, the work she has done (and is doing), and the growth I've seen in her.

With all this information (and a bit more from me--I ran on and on about Sandie), Sharon said, "After reading this, your project takes on a whole different perspective to me. Before I knew anything about it, I would have said something about Mardi Gras or some far away civilization ritual etc. Now after reading all of this and knowing where it came from, I hear a soft (not meek-soft but more like a whisper on the wind soft) but giddy girl's excited, playful voice saying "come dance with me"....kind of metaphorical for don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone sitting on the sidelines....get up and "dance" to the music that is your life. So anyway, that's my 2cents, I'd call it "Come Dance With Me."" I told Sharon that her description made me cry. She said EXACTLY what I was feeling; I'm just not good at putting those feelings into words. So...."Come Dance With Me" is the name of the quilt. Thanks Sharon!

Take another look at the character in my "Come Dance With Me" quilt (in the previous post). I notice, now, that the hands of the character look like Sandie's hands. I LOVE that about the piece. Now that you know the story...what do you think?

1 comment:

Karoda said...

A very amazing young woman!