When you look at my body of work it is soon obvious that I have a thing for quilts. I love them. My Dad quilted with his Grandmother and we still have 2 of them that I used to the threadbare stage. When I was a girl, a lady in Arkansas made a twin bed quilt for me as a thank you for my Dad (and me) helping her cow deliver a breech calf. It was hundreds of little octagons stitched together with a yellow backing (my favorite color back then) I loved that quilt but it disintegrated in my late 20’s. I had used it on my bed, at the lake for sunbathing, etc.. When it was a rag I disposed of it with only token regret. Now I absolutely cringe. The other side of that is it got used and used and used. I proceeded to use quilts that came my way as pretty utility items. I got mad at an older relative who was using this fabulous old quilt with velvet pieces and chicken tracks as a moving blanket. It was stored in her car trunk when she left some guy from down near Mobile, Alabama. I used that appropriated bedding for the next 10 or 12 years until it joined the Goodwill bag for disposal. I like to think that some old lady sorting donations looked at that quilt and thought, “wow, that looks like something my family in Gees Bend made. I better pull that out and see if someone can fix it for me”. God I hope so….
My daughter, Chance, is now making a quilt. It requires 5 x 5 inch squares. I cut some for her, from material I had, and realized what a lot of work it was. My 5 x 5’s got more and more imprecise. Then there is all that stitching, and batting and quilting and I realized I will never make a quilt out of material but I will paint those wonderful things in every imaginable way I can think of. When I’m painting, I dream about how that quilt is going to look hanging on the clothesline, covering the old lady on the cold table as the family sits with her body, held around a girl who has slipped out to meet her fella.. My painted quilts have been taken excellent care of. They are not washed out, sun bleached, ragged or torn. They have never had baby spit-up on them, or menstrual blood, food stains or coffee spills. I am now thinking seriously that the people in my paintings have lived, or are living, full wonderful lives and perhaps their pristine quilts should have made that journey with them…
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