Monday, January 22, 2018

Quilter #4 2018 Nicole Weldon

Hello! I'm Nicole Weldon, aka pinwheelsandpancakes, aka Quilter #4 this year on 52 Quilters. I'm very excited to share a bit on January's theme of "Quilting for Wellbeing" and can't wait to hear your thoughts. It's the last week of this theme, so if you've had some thoughts to share, please do jump in!

I live outside Seattle, WA (USA), and work part time at Gossypium Quilt in Issaquah, WA. Though, most often, you can find me in my living room, pretending to be a crane, and building endless skyscrapers and houses and other structures for my toddler to knock down.

How did I get here? I’ve been quilting many years, but it turned into a passion and a deliberate act of self-care about 8 or so years ago. I was in grad school, contemplating what to do for my Master's Thesis project. I was studying Theology and the Arts, had chosen to write my paper on self-care, and had decided I definitely did not want my final art project to be a video (even though I have a BA in video production...).
I kept coming back to this idea of slowing life down, taking the time to take care of myself, cooking from scratch, walking to the market, mending my favorite clothes. I realized three things. 1. I deeply missed sewing, or doing anything simply for myself. 2. The vast majority of my peers also wanted to do these small acts of self care but did not take the time. And 3. We, humans, tend to prioritize every single other thing in our lives before we prioritize self-care.
My research came down to something surprising. Self perception. When I see myself in a positive light, as a person worthy of care, I take the time to care for myself. When I don't, I put others first to a fault.
I decided to make a quilt. It was a conscious decision to return to something I had once found enjoyable but set aside for more “practical” concerns. I played for a long time with the idea of self-perception and the bearing that has on self-care and designed my own original piece.

"Worthy," my first quilt in many years, became my Master's Thesis project. And when I shared it at our show, and later at my church, and later at other art shows and events, I heard the same things over, and over again. "You're right!" people would say "I don't take care of myself, I don't really value myself in that way. I can't take the time for me, other people need me. We're supposed to give to others, but I'm running on empty."

I had many opportunities to share, and had probably hundreds of these conversations. I was a self-care champion for years. And then I had a baby. And, to be honest, I really failed at self-care for the first 18 months of his life. I've done a lot better this last year, thanks to quilting, though I have a very long way to go.

Chris, Jessica, and Jessie shared so much great stuff this month on how quilting aids their wellbeing. I’m going to share a few of my own thoughts on this, but I’m also going to share how I KEEP the fun and joy in quilting. I have lots to share on how I avoid letting bad habits, perceived expectations, jealousy, and negative self-talk suck the fun out of it.
I hope you will join me this week as we explore what it means to "Quilt for Wellbeing." I can't wait to share with you, and even more, learn from our conversations! -Nicole
ps You can find my daily shenanigans on Instagram @pinwheelsandpancakes and if you care to find my website when I get it up later this year, bookmark and I'll get it linked up there when it exists. 

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