“God calls us to gratitude. Not necessarily gratitude for our struggles, but gratitude in spite of them and in the very midst of them.”
-Jena Morrow, Hope for the Hollow
Quilting and healing have long been a combination that makes each stitch a way to bind up wounds and secure fragile emotions. In the compassionate, safe and comforting atmosphere of cutting, pinning and pulling thread through cloth, Susan Schrott has learned to communicate emotional well-being to a select group of adolescents and adults. She sews for those women with poor body image who suffer from anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating.
For nearly thirty years, Susan has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety, depression and relationship issues. As a Clinical Eating Disorder Specialist, she uses art therapy in her quest to take her patients on a courageous journey of healing to move toward joy and health. Not an easy process. But one that Susan Schrott joyously embarks upon. She facilitates the connection and expression of thoughts and feelings in a nonjudgmental environment.
How does a woman suffering with an eating disorder feel? Jena Morrow, in her book, Hollow, describes the mental state of the afflicted. “I am forever engaged in a silent battle in my head over whether or not to lift the fork to my mouth, and when I talk myself into doing so, I taste only shame. I have an eating disorder.”
Susan understands the healing value of quilts, and as an award-winning quilter, she uses the soft features of fabric in her therapy. Eating disorders deal with a lot of negativity with many aspects of femininity. Because Susan has many female role models in her life, she longs to share that joy of sisterhood with the women who starved their bodies and lost their womanly curves.
“I would come home from work and use my art quilting to depict images of healthy and jubilant women. I found this was a way of balancing my occupation.” Susan confesses. “It gave me an outlet and a way to express my joy.”
Creating quilts is a unique process for Susan. She typically starts with a drawing of a cheerful woman. Rather than utilizing store bought cloth, she tends to create her own fabrics. Hand dying, stamping, painting, photo transfer or textile paints provide the wide scope of creativity that she needs to project the wonder of womanhood that fills her quilts. “My world opened up, using my sewing needle as a paintbrush.” These techniques were inspired while sewing with a quilting guild in Westchester that taught Susan the fundamentals of piecing.
As a textile artist, Susan Schrott creates uplifting images that feature strong, joyful women. She also incorporates several visions of the tree of life. These quilts provide inspiration to her patients as they see what recovery can look like. Using these visuals in a therapeutic setting, Susan Schrott combines the satisfaction of quilter with the satisfaction of a healer. A life well spent.
“God created food for the nourishment of our bodies. He created it and provides it so that we might fuel and strengthen ourselves to carry out the work He gives us, to live life to the full (John 10:10), and to have energy to live out and enjoy our days on earth.”
― Jena Morrow, Hope for the Hollow: A 30 Day Inside-Out Makeover for Women Recovering from Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorders
Published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas
Main photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/w46N5Bc37FY