Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Neighborhood Quilt Continues

We had our second session yesterday afternoon and I'm still feeling the excitement from it. I almost had to cancel the session--the power was out when I first arrived at our meeting space and the blare from the alarm was very unpleasant but fortunately the power came back on and we were able to continue with our conversation and creations.

Yesterday we had with us not one but two women who are experienced quilters and one of them brought a wonderful photograph of herself and a group of women who had all created a beautiful quilt years ago--very inspiring! There is such a long, rich history of people, usually women, working together on creative projects such as this, while getting to know eachother and sharing life's ups and downs.

We started off with a discussion of things that we like about this community: flowers, trees, the streets, friends who one woman has known for many years and how it reminds one woman of her home before her move here, Saint Petersburg in Russia. We also learned that most of us have come to the area from other places.

We created another mandala showing images of things we had discussed earlier. With streets awash in cherry blossoms because of the strong winds we've had and blooming flowers everywhere, there were many spring colors in the mandala today.

When we meet again in two weeks we'll start in on the quilt! Overall, there was a lot of excitement about this process today. We also exchanged some words in English and Russian.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Welcome to The Front Porch! Приглашаем!

The front porch is the spot where the home and community meet. You know the place...Whether a porch, a stoop, a lobby ...It's a place where people celebrate as well as address the challenges that they and their community face. The Front Porch is also an aging-in-place demonstration project which aims to create a supportive community, enabling participants to live healthy, meaningful, safe and enriched lives in their own homes as they age. Funded by the State of Massachusetts, The Front Porch is a program of Jewish Family Service of the North Shore.

Here you'll see highlights of the program and the blog will also give all of us who are involved another way to keep in touch. Please share your comments!

May 14, 2008
Here in New England it's finally feeling like spring--a time filled with anticipation and a good time to start something new, like this blog. Today I will highlight the start of our very exciting Neighborhood Quilt, a project made possible through a generous donation by the Jewish Women's Endowment Fund of The Jewish Community Foundation of the North Shore. The Neighborhood Quilt brings together a diverse group of Front Porch participants to get to know each other and to share ideas about community while engaged in a creative, collaborative project. No sewing skills or artistic experience are necessary to participate!

Experienced quilter Clara Wainwright led our initial session on Monday. She came to us bearing colorful fabrics and the vision to see how they could be turned into faces and much more. We started off by creating self-portraits, some of which are seen here.

After getting our scissors and our creative selves warmed up we worked together on the creation of several mandalas (symbolic representations of a world) about community and spring. In each case our collages were taken apart after being photographed. English and Russian were heard throughout the process. Smiles and laughter needed no translation.

Over the next few weeks you'll see updates here about the progress of the Neighborhood Quilt. In June you'll also read about how our exciting collaboration with The Food Project
is making it possible for us to build raised garden beds for growing organic vegetables and flowers.  Can't you almost smell the fresh basil and tomatoes?