Thursday, April 26, 2012


I had been thinking about writing this post and the direction my thoughts have been taking lately when I came across this blog entry: Susie McMahon Dolls: Anti-profligacy. You may remember my blog entry about sustainability: "Goals." Susie's concern about "endlessly unlimited growth on a finite planet " speaks to my focus here. The fact that I now know I am not the only one thinking about how to address those concerns right now is one of those serendipitous moments. While I don't expect to become self-sufficient, I am striving toward living a simpler existence.

I have been busy contemplating my next project, but I've also been trying to weed out the clutter that accumulated since I started working the day job. In the process, I came across an article about a quilt made by Valli Schiller called Common Threads. On it she put a saying that was popular either in the Great Depression or WWII: "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without." She could remember her grandmother saying it all the time. I remember mine doing the same. One thing that Valli said about the materials in the quilt was that her grandmother "repurposed, and I wanted to as well." This was important to me because I have been thinking of recycled, upcycled, and organic materials as the only "legitimate" sustainable materials. It finally hit me that using up material I had previously purchased was also okay.

I have taken another step forward in my quest to decide exactly what I want to do with my art and my life, which feels good. Simultaneously, I know I am not quite there yet, and hope you will bear with me.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.


  1. Good thoughts Dianne - and thanks for linking to my blog post about anti-profligacy - it's something very close to my heart.

    My parents both grew up during the Depression - one in Germany and one in England, so for both of them "making do" was not an option - it was the only choice. I guess quite a bit of that has rubbed off onto me, even though I grew up when rampant consumerism was really hitting it's straps!

    My mother, in particular, tells stories of the whole family helping in the garden and with the animals - they kept hens, geese, rabbits and a pig for protein and grew and raised everything they ate. I've always thought that was admirable and we strive to do the same. Although I would have to draw the line at slaughtering a pig!

    1. It is close to my heart, too, Susie, which is why it always pleases me to see someone else feels the same way.

      My parents also grew up during the Depression, and were married in the middle of it. There was never any overt talk about their experiences, but as I mentioned, my grandmother continued to quote the expression about making do.

      Before I started the day job, I had always had a large garden. I'm hoping to put one in this year. We're not able to do the animals, since we live where we do, but simplify and try to live lightly on the earth in other ways.

  2. Dear Dianne,
    I liked your post a lot. Being a post WWII child became handy when moving to the tiny island of Atiu (Cook Islands)in the middle of the South Pacific. I had learned from my mother who lived through the war years in Berlin where she sometimes swapped her only daily slice of bread for one cigarette (!) how valuable it is to think twice before throwing something away. We recycle many things, have to save water (we depend on rain water) and keep food scraps for our pigs. I recently received many comliments for my 30-years old coat which I wore on an overseas trip. I'm currently a visiting textile artist at the quilt exhibition of the Istanbul Quilters Guild. Another visiting artist from Greece just told me that her group has decided not to buy more materials, but make new works with old fabrics. I think that is a wise choice. I might follow it, too.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Andrea, and giving me a glimpse at another lifestyle as well as your reasoning for thinking sustainably. I have been a student of other cultures for years through personal study and my degree programs. Getting a personal view from someone living in another culture is a wonderful extension of that.