Nellie"s Needles

Monday, May 15, 2006

Grief Quilt

The original title for this piece was to be "As the Crow Flies". I saw birds flying over a winterscape. However, I did the quilting while caring for my mother-in-law at the end of her life and this piece communicated a different "story" to me.

"Transfiguration" - 39"x39 - 1996 (Initially titled "O Blessed Release")

The tree limb patterns and their quilted extensions became associated with the network of pain she was never free from. The red color came to represent her courage and strength in spite of that pain. I felt the significance of the blackbirds during her last week. The day after her death I added the spirit bird to portray her release.

This piece is constructed of uphostery/home dec fabric samples. It's quilted in the Japanese sashiko style with carpet thread. The quilting lines follow and extend the printed branch patterns. The black triangles are quilted with a bird shape. The appliqued organza bird repeats the shape.

Exhibited in 1996 Dogwood Arts Festival Quilt Show
Awarded Honorable Mention

This piece hangs in the home of my nephew in Kaneohe, Hawaii

I wish to express appreciation for the care given to her and to me and to our family by the wonderful people who work for Hospice.

Our family will celebrate what would have been our matriarch's 100th birthday with a family reunion at the end of June.


Bartlett said...

I am the honored owner of this piece. A lot of art speaks primarily TO the owner (or observer) devoid of the original meaning/emotion of the artist. This piece, and its history, are integrally tied in to Nellie's emotion caring for Dottie and Dottie's most gracious final days. Luckily, I was a part of that emotional goodbye. Beyond all other heirlooms that have gone to Dottie's family, it is this quilt which most reminds me of Dottie and who she was. So thank you again, Nellie, for creating something so meaningful and powerful.



dot said...

I like this quilt. It draws me to look deeper into it. Thanks for sharing and what a clever idea.