About a year ago, folks gathered outside the church to help Judy Dales celebrate her 75th birthday. It was a festive gathering welcomed by all, not just because of our love for Judy, but because the day came on the heels of many months of pandemic isolation!

As a gesture intended to acknowledge her love of fabric, members of the community bequeathed gifts of personal fabric swatches. This proved what Judy has always proclaimed: No one can throw away fabric. It has meaning. It has memories. People had to think about what to give. Take a look at what she has created, still a work in progress, and read more about what she said about these offerings.

The work in progress Photo by Eleanor Guare

As we talked further and studied the quilt, Judy remarked on the creativity, diversity, and experiences of our community. The swatches came with inspirational messages and stories about travel, art, family, love, celebrations, survival, and pets. There was a unique Mola design from the San Blas islands, pieces of old lace, a Harley-Davidson scarf, old fashioned calico, tee shirt inspirations and hand-painted batik, among others!

Once she received the basket of swatches, Judy went to work, using her special talent in putting fabric together and feeling free to cut and stitch in her unique way, bringing the many pieces into a unified whole. She reminded me that talent is something to be worked and should not be easily dismissed as “I don’t have talent like you do.” Her 50+ years of experience have met with blood, sweat, and tears as she nurtured and grew her talent. She admits that it’s sad that we’ve been warned not to “color outside the lines” and to let our fears hold us back. Her message was clear – try new things, learn, use your gifts – put it out there.

Watch as the quilt is further completed with the names of all those who contributed, and hopefully hung proudly in Fellowship Hall and perhaps preserved forever in our community archives.