Quilts that Tell a Story
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I had been thinking of doing this piece after looking at a series of tiny black and white photos that my Grandmother Ward had in one of her boxes that I inherited. When I magnified the photos I found that Family members were running in the church yard and one of the car doors had been left open! Not really knowing why, I started to imagine that a terrible storm was coming. I listen to NPR while working in my studio, and the stories about climate change grow more compelling every day. Apathy and denial seem to be gaining ground every day as well. Everyone has a different view about the causes and the remedies. The need for awareness and an urgency about what we can do as people who were brought up in the Christian church and admonished to care for the earth really drove me internally. This is what I can do. Quilted on this piece are these words from Ezekial 13:11, "When a torrent of rain comes and the hailstones crash down and the hurricane sweeps in and the wall collapses what is the good of the whitewash that you slapped on so liberally?" Shown at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery 2013 Climate Change was selected for and was shown in Houston Oct30-Nov2 for the 2014 IQA Festival of Quilts
Hale Bopp/ Fractured Symmetry
The arrival of Hale-Bopp, Carl Sagan's literary works and his death, along with the cult suicide becoming a prevailing media event, seemed to be a great mysterious contradiction. It was necessary for me to make something that would resolve the dichotomy of these events. I sat on our backyard rock (shaped like Pilot Mtn., NC my family's old homeplace) and watched Hale-Bopp through binoculars in a sky chocked full of stars. The comet seemed to be set like a jewel in an immensely full vacuum that was intensely serene. I squealed out loud when I first saw the Dec97 "National Geographic" for the first time. On page 94 and page 108 were the missing pieces of my design puzzle. There were the stars shining through the comet's gorgeous tails in perfect fractured symmetry. Then I searched our back issues and found Apr97 and Dec95 issues titled "Orion / Where the Stars Are Born" and "The Hubble Telescope / From Space Time Exposures". I spread out all the issues on my drafting table and began to select fabrics. Stars, planets, clocks, chili peppers, squiggly wormholes, ancient mosaics, pebbles, the backs of beetles, spider's legs, even petals and leaves all seemed appropriate in a sky so full of cosmic material. Kaleidoscopic images of stars created from these materials and pieced together became the substance of this piece. This was the first of my quilts to sell in my first solo show at Cedar Creek Gallery. I sent a thank you on the postcard of the show to National Geographic Magazine. The piece and I were published in the April 1999 issue. It was also published in Astronomy Magazine and won an Honorable Mention at International Quilt Exhibition in Houston Texas. This quilt hangs in a private residence in Raleigh, NC
Church in the Wildwood
This piece was inspired from Looking Glass Rock Trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Lake Junaluska Chapel. As very small children, my sister Daphne and I loved the hymn that is written on this quilt, and would sing it for anyone! She lives not too far from the giant redwoods now, and I live in North Carolina not too far from one of the few remaining giant hardwood forests. This quilt is a childhood dream. It combines my feelings of worshipful awe in these forests, with resonant feelings in places of worship built by human hands. Inspired by Looking Glass Rock Trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Lake Junaluska Chapel There is a church in the valley by the wildwood No lovelier spot in the dale No place is so dear to my childhood As the little brown church in the vale Oh. Come to the Church in the Wildwood Words and Music by Dr. William Pitts, 1857 This quilt was a finalist in the 2003 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas; it was a finalist at the 2004 American Quilters Society show in Paducah, KY; selected for the Blue Ridge Parkway Show at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in 2007; it has been published in Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, June04 and Fiber Arts, BookVII. Available from my studio
This piece was inspired by Doughton Park trail and Potato Creek Chapel near Sparta NC Written with quilting on this piece are these words: Over one hundred years ago before the Global initiatives to preserve the environment, President Theodore Roosevelt placed under public protection over two hundred million acres of land in the United States. He called the Presidency his “Bully Pulpit” meaning a spectacular place from which to preach about his own conversion from thinking about the natural world as a place of infinite resources to exploit, into believing that in his own poetic words: “It is not what we have that will make us a Great Nation, it is the way in which we use it” Over thirty years later construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway was begun by Virginia’s Civilian Conservation Corps making great work possible for unemployed victims of the Great Depression. These people commissioned by President Franklin Roosevelt created a scenic motorway that was an engineering marvel, designed to preserve while making experiencible the fragile environment linking the Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway has been one of my most insistent inspirations. This quilt was displayed in 2007 at the Blue Ridge Parkway show at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville, NC, It was chosen for the SAQA "Musings" show at the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan Available at Lee Hansley Gallery, Raleleigh, NC
Grandaddy and the Music Home Place
My Grandaddy, Robert E. Lee Ward was a Methodist Minister in Western N.C. in the first half of the 20th Century. I knew him as the most patient person, observant of every detail. He was able to climb trees (even in his eighties!) and he would mow the lawn in his "old" morning suit. On cold mornings he would start the wood stove before we could bear to get from under the covers. He delighted in listening to all of the grandchildren sing and play the piano. The verses of two of his favorite hymns; His Eye is On the Sparrow and I Would be True are quilt-written on this piece. My grandmother's flower garden was wild and glorious winding down the hill in front of the homeplace to which they retired. This quilt was traded with my brother for a vacation in Yosemite together with our two familes. This led to two quilts about Yosemite. This quilt hangs in a private residence in Old Pasadena, California
This one hundred year old Weeping Cherry tree is on the campus of Dorothea Dix Hospital, which was founded in 1856 as North Carolinas first hospital dedicated to the treatment of mental illness. It sits on a hill in south Raleigh overlooking downtown. The hospital is slowly being decommissioned and the patients and staff relocated. There is a several year long controversy over future use of the 425 acres with it’s century old oaks, pecans, magnolias and cherries. “The tapestry of history has no point at which you can cut it and leave the design intelligible.” Dorothea Lynde Dix In 2011 this quilt was selected for the "Art on the Move" project in the City of Raleigh which wraps images of art around the city buses for a moving art exhibition that lasts for six months!
Sunrise on Ocean Isle
This quilt, dedicated to my Uncle Thomas Jefferson Byrum is a visual representation of my childhood family reunion site. It is childhood memories that I have captured with fabric. Memories that cannot be recreated because many treasured family members are gone and can never return to Ocean Isle. This is what I remember about Ocean Isle of the 1950s and 1960s. The center of the quilt features fresh water flora and fauna in the swampy area where we went crabbing and fishing. The Egrets nest with eggs is in the center with grassy paths stretching through the dunes onto the beach. Only a few of the varieties of the thousands of shells that we cousins gathered are represented. We all rode the waves with our Fathers and older cousins who allowed us a little more dangerous freedom than our Mothers and Aunts on the beach. Occasionally we glimpsed marine wildlife in and under the waves. My Uncle Tom Byrum never missed the sunrise on Ocean Isle that you can see beyond the waves. This quilt traveled to several juried shows including EUROGA 2002, Monchengladbach, Germany, and was published in American Quilter Magazine, Spring 2000 and in the book Batik for Artists and Quilters, it was in the Art in Embassies Program 2005-2006 and was displayed in the United States Ambassadors Residence in Indonesia. In 2007, it was invited by Jerry Jackson to be in a show at Roanoke Island Festival Park called Pocosin Arts, Creative Diversions Influences of Traditional NC Art and Craft. Available from my studio