ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Textile Arts as Women's Therapy, Part 2

Today I received a complimentary copy of "Using Textile Arts and Handcrafts in Therapy with Women: Weaving Lives Back Together". You may remember that I blogged about being interviewed for this book back in May in a post called "Textile Arts as Womens Therapy". I am one of several artists that were interviewed for this book, and photos of two of my works also appear in it. You can see which by accessing the link above. The author, Dr. Ann Collier, is an academic at the University of Wisconsin, a clinical psychologist, and a textile artist herself. Her website is called "Dr. Shrinks Fibres".

The book is geared at textile artists who might want to explore personal issues through their art, mental health professionals who might be interested in the theory behind it, as well as teachers of textile arts. Dr. Collier goes on to explain how, in the latter group, she has noticed student issues come to the fore in workshops she has taken, often issues the teacher was unprepared for. What teacher has not heard about the many ways that textile arts have saved a woman's sanity? I certainly have, I've lived it myself, and believe that textiles can do that.

I'm taking this book along with me to read at Christmas. I suspect it will remind me of how and why I got into quiltmaking in the first place (more on that in my next blog post), and how quiltmaking makes a big difference to the mental health of women.

It's kinda cool being part of a scholarly study, especially since I also once tried to tie quiltmaking to my academic studies. In 1999 I wrote a paper about quilts and quiltmaking for my graduate course in Psychoanalysis and Cultural Studies. I used to have a prominent link to it on my website, but I now only include a link through the resume on my website. The research I did may be dated now. I had even tried to work my Masters thesis topic around quiltmaking, the general argument being that it provides a meaning system similar to a religion (my graduate studies were in Religion & Popular Culture). I didn't quite work it out, and got so gob-smacked by the quilting world that I never did finish the thesis. And that is OK; life has a way of taking us to the places we need to go.

If you are interested in the link between textile arts and women's mental health, you will probably find this book of interest.

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