"Hilos en Común" (Common Threads) - A Collection of Stories and Quilts WOW !

--story by Linda Bradley, photos by Mary Rouse

In 2012, the exhibit Los Hilos de la Vida (Threads of Life) traveled from Northern California to the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg. This exhibit, exploding with color and texture, told the stories of immigrant women. Inspired by this exhibit, a few local women began conversations about the possibility of such a group existing here in Harrisonburg. In 2013, with the help of NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center, Hilo en Común (Common Threads) was born.

More than the name of a group, Hilos en Común is a platform that gives voice to immigrant women. It is a safe community where personal, vulnerable, and powerful stories are shared and expressed through textiles revealing the creativity, strength, dreams, resilience, love, and faith of these immigrant women. It is also a place of learning new skills – machine sewing, hand sewing, quilting, surface embellishment, fabric manipulation, imaginative design, and language.

The result is an absolutely stunning exhibit of quilts being displayed at the Smith House Galleries on South Main Street in Harrisonburg through July 30. The show opened on July 2 with many of the local immigrant "stitchery creators" in attendance and a very appreciative gathering of amazed folks from far and wide.

This exhibit will be open on W, TH, F from 11-4 through July 30. Mary Rouse, one of our Sunnyside residents, will be hosting on Thursdays.

Here is a comment from one quilter, Udelia, describing her quilt “My Autumn Is Spring”: “When I turned 50, I gave thanks. While looking at myself in the mirror, I faced many feelings about the traces on my face from the years I have lived. I saw a bit of everything, and I thought, ‘Whatever may come, my soul will never age, because the spring of my life must brighten the autumn of my life that goes on.’”

And a comment from Norys about her quilt, “Gyros”: “Our steps always take us to a better place in our journey. The leaves are steps, the circles our dreams/destinations, the black and white background our fears and doubts.”

Please come and see this marvelous exhibit for yourself!