Quilt of Belonging The Invitation Project by Esther Bryan and Friends, 2005 is the newest book in my well stocked and well loved library. It is my souvenir of experiencing the quilt and meeting Esther Bryan at the American Quilter's Society show in Grand Rapids, MI last August. The Quilt of Belonging is the result of the artist's vision to create a textile asserting there is a place for everyone in the fabric of society. Here are some facts: the tapestry is 120 feet long and 10.5 feet high; the 263 blocks portray the rich cultural legacies of all the First Peoples in Canada and every nation of the world. The quilt is visually and emotionally powerful. I was similarly moved when I saw a portion of the AIDS quilt.
Reading the book, I experience the quilt in small pieces and linger with the stories behind the individual blocks and their makers. I have contemplated The Most Serene Republic of San Marino, and read the legend of Ikat cloth in which a cloud's reflection was caught in silk. The individual blocks are 263 exhibits of culture expressed in needlework.
One woman's vision and family history was the starting place. Many people were involved before the last stitch was accomplished, and the last page was printed. Together, a story of belonging was made visual. pjb