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Art Therapy Vishuddha Quilt

Throat Chakra Quilt

Oh… I’m so close to being finished with the quilt I’m currently working on – and it is my favorite quilt so far. Isn’t that always the case?!

I thought I’d write a little about it here before showing it tomorrow night at PMQG because this one is packed with back story and I know I won’t get through it all, while up in front of all those people. Hopefully I get my blog mentioned before forgetting!

Throat Chakra Quilt – Basted

I started a series of Chakra quilts two years ago when I made my Root Chakra Quilt, then made the Manipura Quilt last year. With each quilt I explore my own energy relating to that Chakra, check it to see if it’s positive or negative, and then work hard to correct any terrible learned behaviors. I’m not going in order they are in… I’m going with what my meditations and my heart say I personally need to work on.

This one, Vishuddha, is the one I needed to work on the most. It’s about ‘speaking your truth’ and centers around the throat area of the body. By not voicing certain emotions, we can end up with a ‘blocked’ Throat Chakra which can cause physical ailments. I would love to feel better.  Read more about this Chakra here.

The idea for this quilt came with our PMQG Word Quilt Challenge last year. I wasn’t sure of the exact words I would use, but I knew I had something important to say.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I wanted to say with this quilt, but while sewing, the Kavanaugh hearings were happening. The rage I felt building in my body while hearing this man talk was overwhelming and completely surprising. I then knew what this quilt was going to be: it was going to encapsulate the feeling of humiliation and isolation one feels when someone assaults you and no one believes you, or worse – people blame you for what happened.  Hearing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford give testimony made me shiver with understanding.

In the religion I was raised in, women were objects. You were taught to be happy about being subjected. If someone wanted you, you were to be elated and thankful. My upbringing was all about cooking, cleaning, and caring for babies. We were told that we would not need an education because our men would provide for us. When women were abused by husbands, they were told to be more submissive, kind, … and more pleasing sexually. When children were molested, they were told to dress differently, not be so seductive, and to be forgiving. This way of thinking has done lasting damage to me.

Ready to quilt on the Juki!

Because of low self esteem, I pretty much could blame myself for anything bad that happened to me. When I was date-raped at 16, I could not tell anyone because I had snuck out of my house, went to a party and got drunk… all behind my parent’s backs. I knew if I told anyone, I would be reprimanded and kicked out of my house, and I was terrified.

This first time led to other times, other situations, other people… and I could always find a reason to write it off. I was kicked out when I decided not to go door to door preaching anymore (religious differences), and spent my young adulthood as a homeless gutter punk. I drank and did drugs to forget. The drinking and loneliness led to more bad decisions, and more guilt. I became very good at finding the greatest guys for abusive relationships. 

The thing that saved me was getting pregnant and having a daughter. Thinking about things in a parent’s perspective has really helped me get some of my own self esteem back. If she deserves to be heard, so should I!

When she was five, I met my husband, who was the first guy in my life to show me what love really is. We’ve been together over 20 years and he’s adopted my daughter and things have definitely gotten better in my world after starting our own business and buying our first home.

The tough part is with stability and soberness, feelings from the past come up from out of nowhere and I just need to feel these things without exploding.   

So, I’m using quilting as art therapy. With fabric and color, I’m somehow able to work through some of these overwhelming waves of emotion. Completing a quilt gives me a sense of accomplishment that feels great.

Opening up about some of my past is a good thing, and I saw a counselor this year for a few sessions. She encouraged me to talk about past traumas, and everything always ended up coming back to abandonment issues and having no self worth. 

All this cutting and sewing, and cutting and sewing ended up making something really beautiful and powerful to look at, and I like that metaphor for my own life. Every time something has happened to me, I go over it and over it and over it trying to figure out what I could have done better. I’ve cut myself apart and put all the pieces back together again a million different times… it might look pretty, but there are a lot of bumpy seams or imperfections if you look closely. 

At the center of it all is light energy that sustains us and propels us to continue moving forward. I used Violet Craft’s “Flight” fabric in the center with the gold birds to show freedom from within. This quilt also has 16 rays that signify the 16 vowels in the Sanskrit language. Vowels are necessary to speak words, and the words I needed to say…? 

“I am worthy”

By Gail Lizette

Lover of texture and color. Quilting is my joy.

2 replies on “Throat Chakra Quilt”

Thank you for sharing so much about this quilt Gail. I got chills reading about it which is nothing compared to what you’ve gone through to make this. I am so proud of you for everything you’ve done to be at this place now. Keep going! Be strong! Hug your family! xo

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