a vermont quilt and wabi-sabi


It is from Vermont, at least that's what I was told when this quilt became mine. It is made from a variety of fabrics, wool, cottons, thin, thick, even some polyester mixed in here and there. It is probably not ancient, but it is still old, or maybe just used often. The true history of the quilt does not matter so much. Somebody made it in log cabin style, lovingly piecing the rectangular shapes to the backing fabric by hand, then throwing in some machine stitching to keep the layers together. Some squares are intact, but most are worn, some of them to shreads. Even the back is tattered and stained.


The quilt from Vermont symbolizes much in my mind. Things, just as life itself has a beginning and an end. They will not last forever. But there is beauty in all its stages, the threadbare parts are just as alluring as the unblemished ones. There is beauty in imperfection.

Inspired by Natalie Chanin and her blog, I recently started reading simply imperfect – revisiting the wabi-sabi house by Robyn Griggs Lawrence. Wabi-sabi is not a straight forward concept, and it is sometimes difficult even for native Japanese to explain what it means. My interpretation is that we should try to limit our possessions to things with meaning and usefulness, to un-clutter our homes and our lives, to find calm and quiet among chaos, and to care for the things we do have to make them last longer. I am not there yet, but the process has begun. One of the more important aspect of wabi-sabi is to enjoy doing things by hand, whether it is washing dishes, or mending a skirt, or making a quilt from scratch.