Monday, September 3, 2012

There's a lot you can learn in two years....

Yesterday we went and hung the eight earthquake quilts I've made in the last two years
on a long fence on Gloucester Street.
There amid all the destruction and demolition they hung for a bit
and brightened the grey, the grimness and the sadness.

Each of these quilts means something to me,
and making them has been therapy indeed.

I've learned that Hope is what keeps you going,
you only need a spark, but you must have some or you can't keep going.

I've learned you need to have a plan,
and you need to have somewhere you can feel safe.
I've learned how to make it as safe as we could,
I've learned what being safe means to a child
and I've kept that smile on my face and in my voice when I was dying inside.

I've learned that you can pick up all the pieces and keep going,
it doesn't matter how small the pieces are, they are all useful and together 
they make a whole.

I've learned that buildings are not our life,
that our security is not in our stuff.

I've learned that you can take all the ugly bits
and build something new.

In fact you can make something beautiful.

I've learned that you can bloom where you are planted.
That making do is not the same as making the best of things.

I made this quilt thinking about how good strong foundations are,
but it turned out wonky,
and we discovered with time that strong foundations were not enough either.

I learned that everyone has a breaking point
and to act with grace around those who are struggling.

I've learned that I am stronger than I thought,
and even though I've felt broken,
I've found grace and strength to carry on.

Here's a picture of our Cathedral.
Broken at the heart of our city.

And the fences of doom that still surround it.
Apparently the fences should be gone by mid next year.
Next year?? really!
There will be not much left.

I can't show you what it's like here.
There is bare space everywhere. Buildings like this being torn down and crushed to powder.
The sound of the demolition is relentless.

But over the last two years I have created these eight quilts.
They are a visual reminder of some of the lessons that I have learned.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have sent messages of support
in the last two years. We needed each and every one of them.
I hope we never have to walk this path again.


  1. Deb, this is an amazing post.
    I love how you have told the story through your quilts and it is awesome how each represents something.
    And they are really beautiful quilts.
    I also love how through what has obviously been a really tough time you have continued to share with us honestly and even in the darkest of times you have shown us beauty in your posts.

  2. You are an amazing woman. Stay strong.

  3. Deb , what a beautiful post. Foul I please put a link to it from my blog. We all need to read this post.

  4. That is just prefect! What a journey we have all been on.

  5. Great post Deb xxx Very important lessons for us all

  6. Truly moving, such a special thing that you have done! I'd like to link to you from my blod too when I get back home from my trip. I agree with sewsocrazy we all should read this post xx

  7. Now you have me sobbing. I think we have both grown so much through these last couple of years. For different reasons and on different sides of the planet. I am blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for sharing. X

  8. Thank you so much for sharing! Although we haven't lived through the earthquakes of Christchurch we've had our one personal shakings! Your perspective shared through your beautiful quilts is a must for all to read.

  9. It breaks my heart seeing your IG photos, and that Christchurch is a demolition sight. I can't imagine how hard it must have been in the last 2 years.

    All your quilts are gorgeous too, I love that the foundation one is a little wonky, how symbolic.

    I hope your sewing therapy continues to get you through. Please keep sharing, as the press seem to have long forgotten.

  10. I think you're awesome - you articulate with such honesty and grace what is so hard to say. xx

  11. what an awesome post Deb, shows how strong the human spirit is! I love that you used your quilting as therapy for you! And your quilts are beautiful of course!

  12. Deb, Thank you for sharing your lovely quilts and what they taught you. I found your blog shortly after the earthquake and have followed just to keep up with the amazing, strong woman you are. Blessed be. Kiss the Hubby and the kiddos!

  13. This is a wonderful post. Have you ever thought about writing a book about your experience?
    As for the foundations quilt I think it gave a strong message in it's wonkiness. ;-)

  14. What a beautiful post! Thank you! Hoping you never have to go through this again, too.

  15. Deb THANK YOU
    Thank You for being YOU
    Thank You for keeping Christchurch at the forefront of our minds long after the media frenzy
    I remember today 2 years ago . . . I remember it so well . . . I hold you all close today
    LOVE YOU xxx

  16. Beautiful post.
    Beautiful quilts.
    Beautiful person.
    Extra big hugs and love today.

  17. Everyone has said all that I could say. I have been through an emotional earthquake that threatened to rend our family apart and we have learned all those same lessons. It gladdens my heart to know that I am not alone in the pain and wisdom that these events teach us. You are wise because you learn. I hope your surroundings continue to rebuild and yes hope is EVERYTHING.

  18. Heartfelt post today, Deb, and I'm glad to see it. I think the act of making all those quilts is you giving your city a great big hug--saying, I can build, I can recover, I can go forward and now you can too.

    I remember the fences around the wreckage in Northern California after the horrible earthquakes, and all the sadness, but today I go back, many years later, and it has rebuilt itself in new ways. I find new treasures to cherish, and I send out a hug to you, that in time you will too.

    Bravo to you on those quilts!

    Elizabeth E.

  19. This is a stunning, and very moving post, Deb. Tears in my eyes for everything the people of Christchurch have been through, and have lost. You are (all) very brave, and strong.
    Your quilts are absolutely gorgeous. I especially love the 'assembly point' one. You are amazing!

  20. Deb, what a wonderfully moving anniversary post - even though it's an anniversary none of us want to remember. I showed your words and photos to one of my classes and there was lots of silence and lots of respectful talking and listening. Beautiful, beautiful quilts. We've come a long way.

  21. BEautiful - your words and your quilts xo

  22. What a wonderful way to tell your story Deb.
    Hugest of hugs to you.XXXOOO

  23. that is an awesome blog Deb. It expresses how I feel so well. Good job. Thanks Karen

  24. Beautiful post, words and messages. Big big hugs xx

  25. Just to let you I moved my blog here :)

  26. Your quilts look such a vibrant testement to the strength of human spirit against the harsh backdrop of broken buildings. A beautiful post and the quilts are stunning.

    With love, Florence x

  27. Ah Deb you are such a sweet heart. Such a beautiful post with such pertinent messages that you share though your gorgeous quilts. I know that there is still so much to be rebuilt but to see the pictures makes it so much more real. So sad to see the broken cathedral. Jo x

  28. Deb I read this post with tears in my eyes. I think you are strong beyond words. And your quilts are even more beautiful thanks to the therapy they have provided for you and the stories behind them.

  29. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
    Kia kaha.

  30. Thank you Deb. Your quilts are an amazing contrast amidst the rubble and pain.

  31. Amazing Deb.

    In the short while I've known you you have taught me so much about my life and living in this beautiful city

  32. your blogs have been an inspiration to me and kept me going - thanks Deb

  33. A thoughtful post by a thoughtful are an inspiration! xx


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