My Short Travels in America - A Photo Journal

It's almost impossible to put two weeks of beauty and inspiration into words. And, as I've been trying over the past couple of weeks, it's sometimes felt like I've minimised it somehow, lost the essence of it. I spent much of the time away taking in art and music and beautiful landscapes, and so perhaps the best way to share that with you is a little like a museum, where the art does the talking. And so, here is a photo journal of my time away.

Before QuiltCon

coffee table at Lisa

Above - The warmest welcome from Lisa to America. She cared for us with beauty, good conversation, and fun 'quintessential American' restaurant outings.

Below - If a memorial is the way a country reminds itself of what's true, then Jefferson's inspired me and gave me hope.

inscription at Jefferson memorial
tim and jodi at the jefferson memorial

At QuiltCon

Best in show quilt from Quilt Con
Best in show quilt from Quilt Con caption

Above - At Quilt Con, best in show by Ginny Robertson. Before women had the vote, quilts were one of the ways women shared their voice. I thought Ginny's quilt did that history justice, and I deeply valued her inspiration and message. 

Below - There was space there for the powerful and meaningful quilts, as well as the joyful, beautiful ones. I was moved by both.

quilt from quilt con by Cat Haggart
quilt from quilt con by Cat Haggart caption
quilt from soldier uniforms by Kristin La Flamme

After QuiltCon

Below - In New York, we stayed in the flower district, completely by accident, and I passed shops like these each morning on our way out to explore the city.

St Patrick's Cathedral is a wonder of beautiful patterns and odd stories. I was struck by the statues of saints, who if they lived today, would have been put on medication, and at other points in history would have been locked away in terrible asylums. Here they were honoured as having something special to offer. As a deeply feeling, anxious person, I found this strangely heartwarming.

flower market in NYC
St Patrick
Hadestown the musical

Above - Hadestown the musical. Orpheus knows that if he can just write a song beautiful enough, one that reminds Hades, King of Hell, of his story, he can set the whole world right again. It was magical. The highlight of our trip. 

Below - The walk from our apartment in Chelsea to the 9/11 Museum took us through disused rail corridors and piers that were turned into gardens. 

tim the tourist

Below - Of the millions of artefacts and photos from the 9/11 memorial, it was this artwork that expressed the depth of the loss for me. Each square represents one victim.

This beam was the last to be removed from the rubble of the Twin Towers, and was done so with a ceremony to honour the emergency services. I deeply valued the space given throughout the clean up for the city to grieve, and the knowledge that items and photos would need to be collected so that the story could be told. 

9/11 memorial
9/11 memorial

Below - Art and Pattern in the MET Museum. I was mostly drawn to the way things have been made beautiful throughout history in everyday life.

mosaic tile in subway
exhibits in the MET
exhibits in the MET
exhibits in the MET
exhibits in the MET

Final Thoughts from This Travel Photo Journal

I used to have a quote from Dostoevksy up on my sewing room wall - 'Beauty will save the world'. I didn't even really know what it meant, but I desperately wanted it to be true. I clung to it as justification for my time spent making quilts, even though I had no idea how they might participate in this world-saving.

There's something so powerful about travel - leaving your home, your everyday responsibilities, your routines, and carving out space to experience something beautiful and different. My heart and mind opened up in a way they just can't at home. I was touched, not just by the expression of big, difficult experiences in quilts, memorials and theatre, but also by the way beauty was used to express everyday human value. Parks that were made from old piers or disused rail corridors; mosaics in the subway; intricate, ancient decorations on vases and doorways shown in the MET museum. They all reveal the value we place on the people who use them. I found it incredibly beautiful and powerful.

As someone who grew up seeing her depth of feeling and creative longings as a childish whim or lacking in usefulness, I found this deep immersion into creative expression very affirming. I've spent a long time over the past 15 years wrestling with the place of creativity in my life. And, I've come to the firm belief that I don't need to justify making beautiful things by making money or gifts. My joy is worthwhile enough. This is the way I value myself.

Walking around the Capitol, the quilts at Quilt Con, the parks of New York, and the MET, I realised, “This is how a community values its people!” Value is placed on both the artist and their form of expression, and the people who experience it. On the stories that built them, and the future they're aiming at. It helped me understand why I feel so chuffed with our local council for recently putting a walking path between our neighbourhood and the Botanic Gardens. Or, why I felt compelled to abandon the pious minimalism of my 20s and started filling my home with plants and art and beautiful furniture. It is how we express that we value something. It's not simply materialism or ‘selling out,’ like I always assumed back then. It's an incredibly old human virtue. It's how beauty will save the world.

I dedicated a separate blog post to my experience teaching at QuiltCon. Read it below!


  • Michelle

    I love the way you write – and the way you encourage people to create simply for the joy of it! So glad you were able to have a fabulous trip to Quiltcon and New York 💕

  • Michelle

    I love the way you write – and the way you encourage people to create simply for the joy of it! So glad you were able to have a fabulous trip to Quiltcon and New York 💕

  • Suzanne Choi

    What beautiful words Jodi, it makes me want to visit too. Looks like an incredible visit filled with colour. Although parts were poignant you’ve also captured the hope and life of the city

  • Laura

    Oh my, Jodi, your description of your travels is so beautifully done. Beautifully done and inspiring and affirming. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

  • Natalie

    Love your posts, Jodi! It’s wonderful to see our country through the eyes of people who live in other parts of the world. Thank you for your perspective and vulnerability, your words are impactful!

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