I just loved this quilt when I saw it! I loved the colors, and I loved the texture imparted by the threads and the lettering.
I was even more pleased when I read Denise Hitzfield and Vanessa Owens' artist statement:
They say life is like a game...That you’re a victim of chance.But, with one roll of the die, the odds can turn against you.Three months before my 18th birthday, they told me I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.Everything I perceived as reality seemed to vanish.I was left to an endless tormenting game of scrabble in my mind...Desperately searching for the right words to fit.The game board of life is set.It is up to you to make sense of the game pieces.To make your mind up to be a survivor and win the game.Life is like a game, so they say... "
Survivor Scrabble attempts to symbolize the search for the right words to express the response to the emotional, spiritual, and physical 'game' of cancer."
The words in the scrabble game have all aspects of the individuals struggle against cancer. While there are words such as "tears," "pathology," "fear," and "needles," there's also "love." Although I didn't have lymphoma, my reaction was much as what is represented here. I was taken aback by the diagnosis of cancer, and yet, I too made my mind up to be a survivor even when the odds were stacked against me.
Denise Hitzfield and Vanessa Owens are from Huntsville, Alabama.
This next quilt was made in an attempt to brighten up a cancer treatment room and to give cancer patients some hope and something else to think about. I can attest that these rooms can often be dull, or somewhat sterile in the choice of the artwork (I remember vividly one of Joseph Alber's original prints at the Hospital of St. Raphael which was in my mind a rather unfortunate combination of pink, orange and a reddish color....never mind what it brought to my mind). One lady who was in treatment with me used to bring her own mini-mural of a tropical forest scene which she would use to think pleasant thoughts and to meditate on.
Marianne Bechtle made this piece entitled "Believe."
"My daughter volunteers at a leukemia survivor support group. She asked me to make a quilt to cheer up the meeting room. Believe was the result. It depicts a fearful little frog learning to leap from one lily pad to the next. Though intimidated and unsure if he will make it, he takes the leap anyway with the loving support of his watchful mother. Fused fabrics hand-dyed by the artist, machine embroidery, foiled, free-motion quilted."
I love this happy little frog, even though he looks a bit terrified, he's making that jump.
The last quilt for tonight is one which was done for the healing of one person. It is called "Painted Prayer" and was made by Barbara Hollinger of Vienna, Virginia.
" My long time friend, Peg, sent me an article on Kolam designs from India that she had been saving for me for several years. I was immediately struck by the rhythm and symmetry of the twists and turns woven into the designs. Shortly after I began this piece, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Stitching the endless loops and swirls became my meditative time filled with prayers for her. The appliqué and quilting took both of us through a year of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. We are both finished now and looking forward to a lifetime of continued friendship."
What a wonderful friendship is imortalized here.
Kolams are decorative designs drawn in rice powder, or powdered limestone or other materials on doorways in the southern parts of India, particularly Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Women and girls sweep the ground in front of the doorway (or in courtyards or in special rooms) and make a pattern which is supposed to bestow prosperity and success.
In Colonial America, and I assume in Europe as well, patterns were often swept into sand which was strewn on kitchen floors. I don't know if they had any particular meaning, but this came to mind when I learned of the Kolams; that and of course the Zen sand paintings.
I think the meaning behind the Kolam adds extra meaning to this quilt which is a gorgeous thing on it's own and uses commercially printed fabrics to great success.