Monday, June 4, 2012

Guide My Path

Several years ago, a photographer named Ken Gehle had a brilliant idea to photograph artists in their prospective studios. He told me that his idea was that the studio was as much a statement about the artist as the work that was produced there. Ken wanted to capture that the beauty of the artist in the studio.

I quickly signed up to be a part of his project. As all the quilters and seamstresses know, I started the awesome job of cleaning my studio for the picture. Ken came over a week before the shoot just to look around and decide the best way to shoot it. He thought the dress I was wearing was so appropriate for the picture that he asked me to wear it again the next week for the shoot. I thought to myself, I have other nice dresses. I wore it though. I didn't think that was too much ask.

Ken had been suffering from cancer and was happy to announce that it was in remission. He explained to me that the cancer had something to do with his eyes, which was the worst thing that could happen to a photographer.  He was such a gentle and focused man. Not to mention a great photographer. You can see  his work at

Ken's cancer came back and he passed in 2010. I am one of the artists featured in his book, I Now Have A Ribbon. You never know who you will meet along your journey in this life or why. I was sure my chance encounter with Ken happened for a reason.

Earlier this year(2012), Ken's wife, Tamara called to ask if I would make a quilt from Ken's shirts for their daughter. I was overjoyed to be able to be a part of such a tribute. She also asked if I could use one of his photographs, which made it even better. Just think about it, a quilt made from his very own shirts from one of his very own photographs. I chose the lighthouse picture after seeing the colors of shirts I had to work with. Tamara said that it was her favorite picture. It just kept getting better.

Let me count it up again: his shirts, his photography, and now his wife's favorite photo. I hit the jackpot. It's just the kind of tribute I'd love to have made for my children when I'm gone. I felt so honored to be entrusted with this work.

I used a few of his red colored shirts to make the lighthouse and then a beige shirt to make the small house. Of course the sky fabric is a commercial fabric that I picked up. It wasn't exactly what I wanted but all I could find at the time. Later after I had almost finished I found a sky fabric that looked more like the sky in the picture but it was too late. Ken had a lot of green and blue shirts. So after I used all the blue shirts making the water, I saved the leftovers for the background. My first thought was that I was going to mix a little of the red shirts in with the green ones for the background. When I got to the background the green and blue felt better, so I left the red ones out.

The quilt is called "Guide My Path. A Tribute to Ken Gehle." It is a bed sized quilt. I'd like to thank the Gehle family for letting me be a part of this tribute.

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