Quilting As Reclamation of Self

Kelley Spurlock is the owner of Folkway Studio, a home goods shop dedicated to creating a meaningful life. Currently selling quilts, patterns, and candles, 10% of all proceeds are donated to a different non-profit each month. Kelley is interested in exploring why society places more value on financial success than on the beauty of motherhood and creating from the heart. Her goal, through folkway studio, is to encourage a better way of living.

Quilting as Reclamation of Self

by Kelley Spurlock

After slowly getting more and more involved in the sewing community, I’ve been seeing a common theme… sewing as reclamation of self and as an act of resistance.

Speaking from the view of motherhood, I found myself literally giving life to another being. And as beautiful, magical, and profound as that is, I’ve heard very few people (at least in the US) talking about what it takes to sustain that. In order to sustainably give life, I need to nurture life in myself. I need to see myself as a whole person, in need of care, attention, and passions of my own. And in a society that values monetary gain over humanity, isn’t that resistance? Isn’t that reclamation of self?

I needed to start separating myself from the mother that society expected me to be, so I could step into the person I was becoming. By nature, as a mother, I am a creator. My body literally breathes life. And I’ve found that in order to have a sustainable motherhood, I need to reclaim that creative energy. I need to nurture that in myself, and I need to believe that I am worthy of that time.

Quilting opened that door for me. And that seems to be a similar story for so many people. Quilting or sewing feels like a resistance in itself because it’s bucking the system. When I quilt, I am resisting the idea that I need to buy what I use. When I sew, I am resisting the idea that I am powerless within a system that values money over time or human value. In doing so, I am reclaiming my own ability and my own capabilities. I am reclaiming slow movements and intentional crafts. I am reclaiming my own strength and tenderness, power, and creativity. 

In a world that constantly devalues women and mothers, when I take the time to sew, I am learning to value myself. 

Thank you, Kelley, for this heartfelt essay. For more of what Kelley creates and shares, follow her on Instagram.

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