I have been trying to find the starting point for a series of blogs about the quilts, and the memories they represent, more for me than anything else.... but I have struggled with the most important quilt.... I didn't know how to include it until yesterday..
Yesterday I watched a beautiful film called Delicacy, a French movie with the simply gorgeous Audrey Tautou. It is about love, loss and grief. I enjoyed watching it, but it prompted me to think about grief and how it affected me...
So I am going to bite the bullet and start my series with the quilt that represents a period of extreme sadness and loss. A time that still affects me... it is the hardest quilt to write about!
I made this quilt in the 3 months following the death of my mother.
It represents the important things about her life, the things she loved and the illness that took her away..
My mum was a force of nature, she was fiercely bright, strong and determined. I have never met anyone like her and I doubt I ever will! She was that person who got straight A's in a blink of an eye. She was funny - a joint friend tells me stories about the things she used to get up to... totally crazy!
You see I didn't know my mum as an adult. When I was 18 she was diagnosed with cancer, which she fought and won. But it revealed something much worse - early onset Alzheimer's. She was 48 when she got cancer and 51 when we finally got someone to diagnose Alzheimer's - they all said she was too young...
Just when I was reaching adulthood, she was sinking into the black hole that is Alzheimer's. We watched as a family, we watched her drifting away for 10 years, we watched her memory and finally her body fail her.
This kind of grief is like being tied to a train track and watching the train coming straight for you... you know for years that it is coming, you think you will be prepared, but it still hits you like a train and carries into places you never knew existed before...
In those first few weeks after she died I set to work making a quilt to remember her life by, it gave me something to focus on.
It is broken into sections. On the left is a panel of gold Ginkgo Leaves floating on a red background. Ginkgo represents memory - a reminder of the illness that took her.
She loved the colour red and she loved roses, so I put a panel of hand sewn roses. They start at the bud - the start of life - and finish in full bloom.
During the course of her life she had travelled to Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. Japan stayed with her, she loved the people. So I put her name in Japanese onto the quilt using some black fabric.
The quilting was really minimal. In fact I only quilted 2 things...
My mum was a mathematician, she loved maths - it was beautiful to her!
So I quilted her favourite mathematical constants into the quilt: Pi and natural logarithm e...
I think she would have approved!
Part of the Let's Get Acquainted Monday link up on Plum and June