She's a Star

Mom on the front page of the newspaper
Until Mom got over 60, she was a very conservative dresser.  Then when she started swimming, she went all out for bright, wild and flashy.

Another front page photo

Mom's award from Switzerland

Mom at 90
Mom didn't really need any help, but more fun getting help with the candles from 2 grandsons.

Me, Mom and sister Jane

A Party for Mom
When Mom visited me in Brunswick, Maine after Dad died, I gave her a party.  She was as sharp and alert at 90 as ever.  She loved meeting my friends.  They ALL enjoyed meeting her.

Mom and me
I used this photo for a painting to complete a memory quilt.  Still waiting in my UFO pile.

Me on top, sister Jane and Mom
Here is our dear Mom at 90.  Still swimming races; still sharp in mind.  Sometimes she has trouble walking, but not swimming.  

This is the start of a newspaper piece about Mom.
Unfortunately at this time I was recovery from surgery and ensuing problems.  It would be another year before I attempted to travel.  Then, as now, it is via wheel chair.

Pillow Front

Pillow Back
I made a small pillow which explains all of the images on the quilt.  Writing this is bringing back so many memories.

HISTORY or How/why I started quilting.
Let me preface by saying I've always been an artist.  Quilting is just a medium change.  Not as hard on the back as pottery, less fumes than oil painting.

Prior to buying this house in the spring of 1996, I had started sewing 2" squares together to make a wall quilt.  That is still not finished.  Maybe some day.

The year 2007 was a rough one medically and physically.  I underwent 2 more back surgeries, then contracted a staph infection which required another surgery, a debradement.  Then I started on 16 months of mega-doses of antibiotics.  While in a rehabilitation facility, I became too weak to even sit up, let alone do physical therapy.  The nursing staff knew I needed to go back in the hospital.  However, my insurance company sent me home for 'refusing to participate in physical therapy'.  It turned out that I had C-dif, a virulent infection often contracted when the body is weakened by antibiotics.  I started on the medication.  My dear friend, Deborah, came over every day to fix me something to eat, then try to coax me into eating it.  I had absolutely no appetite.  This is the only time I can ever remember that happening.  Anyone who knows me just a little,  knows I was really really sick if I was not eating.  Thinking I was improving, I told Deborah to spend Easter Sunday with her family.  I would be OK.  Unfortunately, because my blood pressure was so low, 50 over 80*,  at about 6PM, I passed out, breaking my right leg.  Deborah and her husband came over, I wasn't sure I needed a doctor, I just knew I was in a LOT of pain.  An ambulance was called.  Deborah stayed with me in the hospital until 2AM when my leg was finally put in a cast.  Now I had a full body 'turtle shell cast', a leg extension to keep my upper right leg straight, plus the cast on my lower broken right leg, plus the computerize delivery system that connected to my main line delivering antibiotics on a 4 hour schedule.  I was a mess.  However, one regret is that I did not have a photo taken.  I was quite a humorous mess.

After more therapy to teach me how to walk on crutches, I returned home.  As I slowly began to recover, I watched quilting videos.  I read some 'quilt block books', then practiced by making some pillows. My fabric was all from a 'stash of decorator sample books' that I had collected because I loved the fabrics.  As I gathered more strength, I was able to be up for an hour or later 2 hours.   I had wanted to quilt for several years.  However, because I had a full time job to support myself, plus another full time job working on my 'old old old beaten and battered house', there was no time.  Now, I knew how to construct a star block.  I could easily change the size.  I wanted to make a quilt for my mom.  Deborah took me shopping, where I could ride on a scooter.  I told the clerk my idea.  She showed me the 'Quilting Fabrics'.    I got LOTS of fabric.  I did not have a clue about how much I would need.  I also knew, it was really difficult to go shopping.  I bought it all in one HUGE batch.  'Genuine quilting fabric' was what I would use to make a 'real quilt'.  So I transferred some photos using the only thing I knew about, that horrible plastic stuff that was available to me in our one fabric store.  I then adjusted photos into squares by either cutting down the photo or adding to it to make a square.  I really had no clue.  It was a mission  of love.  I had my title, "She's a Star", so I continued with that theme when it came time for the quilting.  I had never even looked at a quilt to see how the quilting was done.  I drew out some different size stars, then proceeded to quilt them, one at a time.  I did not even know about a 'continuous line'.  I tried to quilt in the ditch.  Mostly I was weaving all over that ditch.  However, it was a success because My Mother was THRILLED!  

I still usually get an idea, conceive of a title, then begin the quilt.  I make lots of different types of quilts.  I have certain standards-criteria for different types.  IF I am making an art quilt, that is the hardest.  If I'm making a comfort quilt, it is easy to make something appealing to a child.  Once I have a goal, the creating follows that goal.  I sometimes get depressed because my art is not living up to my standard.  Then I make comfort quilts.  I know these will be appreciated and loved.

To me, a quilt is successful IF it completes the objective.  Most of all, I want it to be interesting on different levels:  first glance as well as intimate inspection.  My best art quilt, like any good piece of art, is one that offers something interesting, surprising and/or new over the life of the piece of art.  This is a goal I am still pursuing.

* I know this because the nurse who came every-other day had commented on it. 

1 comment:

Sue Kaufman said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about your mother, and your journey. I think you have something between a contemporary quilt and an art quilt. Great job!