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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sacred Threads: Love Eternal

Caritas Aeternum....Eternal Love...What a concept and I thought that I would explore that aspect of Sacred Threads with you tonight. Eternal love...which goes beyond death, of which mourning is a natural outgrowth.

"Caritas Aeternum" (Latin for Eternal Love) is the name of this gorgeous quilt made by Carol L. Auer from Carmel, New York. I'm afraid I didn't get Carol's permission to show her quilt prior to posting it, so my apologies to her.

I love red and my local Art Quilt Guild recently finished doing a challenge based on the Book of Kells, so this illuminated letter really jumped out at me.

Carol used beads, and buttons, and outlined her leaves and the work with machine satin stitch. Here's Carol's artist's statement:

""Caritas Aeternum" is Latin for Love Eternal and is an expression of God's love for us. The design is based on an illuminated letter often used in sacred texts. In the letter can be seen and an alpha and an omega, Greek letters for the beginning and the end. The dogwood flower is often used as a symbol for Christ and the four leaves represent the four Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The six white dots are for the six days of creation and the seven red triangles are for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit."

The next two quilts really spoke to me as well. This is Mary Beth Clark's, "I Wish there were More."

Here's Mary Beth's artist statement:
"My mother died when I was 8 ½ years old. I have wanted to remember everything I can about her. Some memories are vivid moments suspended in time. Other memories are fragile and hard to hold, like soap bubbles. I find comfort in the memories that I have, but also wistful longing because I wish there were more." Mary Beth is from South Elgin, Illinois.


This quilt gave me some peace. When I was 34 and my daughter was 15 months old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer; then 4 years later, I had a stage IV recurrence. Sometimes I wonder if my daughter would have missed me if I had died, or if she will if it comes back again soon.

Some of my friends have told me that you are never old enough to lose your mother. Yet, it wasn't until I saw Mary Beth's quilt that I understood.


Sometimes I am frustrated because my daughter doesn't remember me spending lots of time reading with her, telling her stories, doing everything I could, and yet not accompanying her and her friends on hiking trips because my pelvis hurt too much, or I was too sick. Yet, here is Mary Beth, looking back at what few memories she has and holding them as cherished moments.



Somewhat similar for me was this quilt, entitled "Loss," by Penny Gold of Galesburg, Illinois. I'm afraid this picture doesn't do it justice...the colors shimmer like bits of stained glass.
Penny's artist statement: "The idea for this quilt came in a conversation with my husband, a year after our son's death in a car accident. The mosaic of colors represents the brief span of Jeremy's eighteen years with us—his energy and intensity, his sharp edges, his problems as well as the joys. The chasm of unbroken black represents the bleakness of our future without him.The colored strip is a hand-stitched collage of small pieces of fabric; the many hours holding this in my lap gave me time to live with my grief. The black is machine quilted with jagged lines."


I can't imagine a pain deeper than that of a mother who has lost a child. Yet, through working with this quilt, Penny has had a moment of healing. She's also shared her child, and her grief with us, and I think we are all the richer for it.


Here is "Memories" by Cyndi Souder of Annandale, Virginia. Again, the color is really off because of the lighting. Just to the lower right, you can see a pair of Raybans hanging on the quilt.

Cyndi's artist statement: "This collage piece features a hand-stippled portrait using Pigma and Zig pens on commercial cotton. The postal-themed background fabric is commercial cotton that I embellished with rubber stamping, including fountain pens, satchels, fleur de lis, and my father's old return address stamp. I also added a few beads.
The portrait is of my sister, whom I lost to ovarian cancer a few years ago, when she was a teenager in the 1960’s. And yes, these really were her sunglasses. "
Cyndi's stippled portrait is fantastic.



This last quilt falls into a category which I think of as healing quilts, although many of the quilts seen here on tonight's post as well as previous ones fall into this category for other reasons. "Sue's Bluefish Quilt" is a quilt which one friend made for another out of love, and it incorporated her healing wishes sewn right into the quilt.
Susan Whalen, of Bethesda, Maryland, made this quilt for her friend, Sue. Here's her artist statement:
"Several years ago, my friend Sue was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. She was courageous and uncomplaining as she battled that dreadful illness. Like me, Sue had always been “chunky”, and as her weight dropped, she told me often how beautiful she suddenly felt. Sue asked if she could give me her “chubby clothes”. She was particularly concerned about her boxes of Blue Fish: expensive hand-painted cotton knits. Then Sue got an idea: "You could make me a quilt!", she exclaimed. I didn't have the heart to tell her I’d never worked with stretchy knit fabrics. So I cut her clothes to pieces, and gradually built a collage. The back was constructed of panels of solids, and the quilt was tied using the gorgeous BlueFish buttons.
The quilt made Sue very happy. She died about two months later."


I am sure that Sue knew she was wrapped in love when she snuggled under her quilt. I know that Sue Whalen probably also has some peace with this quilt and knows that her friend, through the memories each patch evokes, is forever stitched into the quilt.
Caritas aeternum.



2 comments:

Lisa Ellis said...

Lisa - thank you for another poignant post. Again you chose some of my favorites as well. I have added your blog to my own blog roll. I hope others will read your thoughts about life and quilts. Lisa E.

Michigoose said...

Thanks so much Lisa.