On Making a Shark Baby Quilt

I have one daughter. Her name is Winona, named after my beloved grandmother who taught me how to sew. My daughter has her own table in my studio. Through the years we have done a few small sewing projects, but she prefers her pastels and paints. So when she announced that she just HAD to make a shark baby quilt for her roommate’s sister’s first baby born during shark week, I was shocked but excited. This was also only two weeks before my daughter was leaving to spend her fall semester in Beijing, China. We had so much to do to get her ready for her trip! And we were also going to get this quilt done before she left?

Lots of thoughts ran through my head. Had she ever even met this sister? Would the baby girl be traumatized by a shark quilt? Does my daughter really have any idea how long it takes to make something like this? But the beauty of working together like I had always dreamed brought a crazy grin to my face. We would make this happen!

Winona wanted to sew. She wanted to make a quilt as a gift. That is how I started out. I could justify spending the time and money to make a quilt if it was a gift for someone else. I have met other artists who have shared the same story. When they first started creating, it was to make gifts or out of necessity.

Why is it we struggle to justify what we love doing — creating beautiful things? Doesn’t the world need more beauty? Do we have to have a purpose for making a piece of artwork? Or can we give ourselves the freedom to just make for the sake of making?

What would happen if we allowed ourselves to just create for the sake of creating? If we didn’t need an excuse?

Winona and I started the Shark quilt on a Sunday afternoon. She thought it would be all finished by the following day at 4 pm when she was driving back to Grand Rapids. Isn’t that sweet? Instead we mailed the quilt the following Saturday to her roommate who gave it to her sister. Turns out the father of the baby loves sharks like Winona does and thinks it’s awesome. Hopefully baby Junia will grow to love sharks too.

Winona and her Shark baby quilt for Junia.

Winona and her Shark baby quilt for Junia.