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In Japan, top masters of intangible cultural assets such as traditional arts are sometimes designated Living National Treasures. It is a rarely-bestowed honor; since 1955, a mere 97 people in the fields of traditional arts, music and dance have been so designated, and only 92 people in the fields of traditional crafts have been honored. Being designated a Living National Treasure comes with an annual stipend of 2 million yen.

We of Daily Kos are not a nation, but we are a community, and we are fortunate enough to have our own Living Community Treasures. The first of which I am aware is Bill in Portland Maine, who graces the front page five days a week with Cheers & Jeers. For some years now, he has been supported in this by members of the Cheers & Jeers community, who ensure that he has enough to continue making Cheers & Jeers his work.

I propose that we recognize, honor, and support our beloved Community Quilters, Sara R and her sister winglion, as Living Community Treasures as well. I'm swiping peregrine kate's idea of yesterday and continuing the pledge drive for them, striving to get community members to pledge monthly contributions totaling 100 "shares" at $5 per share. We're more than halfway to the goal of $500 per month (though I'd love to see us surpass that), with pledges of $295 per month so far, and we can hopefully meet or, even better, surpass that this evening.

Our love catcher quilts with Bitty the elderly woozle and Ghost the young pootie
Community quilts, the "love catcher" quilts that contain messages from many community members to the recipient of the quilt, are healing works of art. While we've lost a number of recipients over time, I can state from personal experience that they can sustain life as well; my quilt went a long way to sustaining my life during the over three years I was on dialysis, and Charles's sustained him during the hard work and near-constant nights of little sleep he experienced as my caregiver. They are a bit of magic in fabric form, full of love emanating from every message, stitch, and thread. We treasure them and always sleep under them. When I was in the hospital recovering from getting Bimaaji the Kidney transplanted into me, my quilt was there with me, keeping my body and spirit warm the whole time. I insisted it be put on me as soon as I was back in my hospital bed after surgery, and I'm convinced it helped in my recovery. Charles stayed with me in the hospital, only going home to feed our dogs and cats, sleeping on a cot in my room and covering himself in his quilt.

Sara and Ann live on a shoestring. Even with the increase in per-message donations that a lot of us talked them into accepting, it's difficult to impossible to make ends meet; they have been paid far below minimum wage for all the work they put into the quilts, the archival ink used for the messages they hand-transcribe onto muslin, and all the gloriously colorful fabric that is chosen for each quilt. Our Living Community Treasures deserve a bit of financial breathing room so they can feed, house, and get medical care for themselves and their pooties the quilt inspectors.

To pledge and claim a share (or more than one) for yourself, post a comment below and send your Paypal donation to rainwoman (at) mac [dot] com. They'll happily take personal checks, too. If you are able to make a one-time donation instead of claiming a share, that will also be greatly welcomed.

They also make and sell catnip-stuffed mini-quilts for cats, known as Pootie Pads. Not only are these pads a big hit with the cats for whom they are designed,  dogs (at least Bitty) enjoy them, too. They're pretty enough to help decorate the living room and help a great deal with keeping the sofa from being loaded with cat hair, and cats of all ages love them.

Here is more info on the Pootie Pads, and I understand that pads for dogs are coming soon. Prices on Pootie Pads are as follows:

We have two sizes -- Original (23" x 17") and Petite (13.5" x 9").  Here are links for ordering.  Below the fold [of this diary], you'll see fabric choices.  Specify a fabric in the PayPal note to merchant section if you have a preference -- if you don't have a preference, we'll be happy to choose for you.

    Original size Pootie Pad -- $35 + $5.60 shipping

    One Petite Pootie Pad -- $18 + $5.60 shipping  

    Two Petite Pootie Pads -- $35 + $5.60 shipping

To donate toward a specific community quilt, or to buy an item, use this PayPal address:  hairbraider33 [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Winglion (Ann) makes heavenly lavender quilts, and you can commission a custom quilt from Sara and Ann if you want something truly special.

Let's support our Living Community Treasures. Charles and I have taken five shares, $25, but that counts towards last night's total, not tonight's. Let's sustain these artists who give so much of their time and love to sustaining us.

7:41 PM PT: Current total: $325/month Waiting on confirmation that we've made goal thanks to a major contribution by allensl.

7:53 PM PT: Current total: $535/month, thanks to several small "shareholders" and allensl, whose donation comes out to 41 shares per month (he's doing it annually for ease). Let's keep going! Meanwhile, I'll be back in about an hour; Charles and I need to grab a bite.

Originally posted to Kitsap River on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 05:38 PM PDT.

Also republished by Positive Intention and Lovingkindness, Community Quilt Project, Kossacks helping each other, and Street Prophets .

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