Monday, September 30, 2013

Vendya A. Little

Vendya Albertyne Lewis Little was born August 3, 1941 to James Andrew Lewis (Chief) and Albertha Hunt Lewis in Newnan, Coweta County, GA. The family later moved to Midway, Liberty County, GA.
       After graduating from Liberty County High School she attended Fort Valley State College, Fort Valley, GA. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Physical Education. She moved to Milledgeville, GA and began her career as a High School Health and Physical Education Teacher. In, 1971, she became the Recreation Director with the Georgia Department of Corrections at the Women’s State Prison. While working at the Prison, she became the first black female Deputy Warden in the Georgia Prison System statewide. She also trained two of the three female Wardens in the Georgia Department of Corrections to date. She worked for the Department of Corrections for 31 years. She retired in 2002.
         She met and married Eddie Frank Little of Detroit, Michigan in 1985, who preceded her in death.. Also preceding her in death were her parents, and her granddaughter Ashley Nicole Lewis.
       She was an active member of Flagg Chapel Baptist Church, in Milledgeville, GA. She loved to sing and was a member of the Choir. She sang in numerous weddings and her rendition of the “The Lord’s Prayer” would bring tears to your eyes.
      Vendya was a wonderful free flowing fun-loving spirit. I loved that she lived her life to the fullest. I have to say that I had a very hard time with Vendya's face. This is the version I am finally accepting after many attempts. I'd like to see a little more joy in the face since the original picture had a softness, but I promise to get better with more and more attempts. NEXT TIME.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Juan A. Ponder

Juan A. Ponder was the first born to Mattie Lewis Ponder and Joe Davis Ponder in McDonough, Georgia on August 17, 1938. He graduated from Henry County Training School in 1956. He then attended Correspondence School at Albany State Military Academy.

Senior Master Sergeant, Juan Ponder enlisted in the United States Air Force in October 1956 and retired October 1976, after serving 20 years. He did his basic training in 1956 at Lackland Air force Base in Texas. Juan went on to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana for his technical training. He studied to become an aircraft mechanic at NCO Preparatory School and graduated second in his class. Juan served in Vietnam for three and one half years as a helicopter mechanic. In addition, he worked as a Para rescue trooper saving many lives in the jungle. He fell behind enemy lines once to be rescued by Korean soldiers. His unit only lost one helicopter and was honored with the Purple Heart Medal. During his service, Juan traveled extensively throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 1960 as flight crew chief, his aircraft escorted the Russian Prime Minister Khrushchev to the United States.
Juan worked for the Henry County Board of Education as an Auto and Bus Mechanic from 1980 until his retirement on August 17, 2006. He was a member of Wesley Chapel Methodist Church all his life. Juan faithfully served in several leadership positions until his health began to fail which included President of the Usher Board, Chairman of Trustees, Secretary of the Administrative Counsel, President of United Methodist Men and served on the District and Conference level. He was also a member of the Locust Grove Masonic Lodge #573 and an Adjutant of American Legion Post 516. Juan will be remembered for his bravery, dedication, commitment, and true walk as a spiritual soldier.
He was a great family man and the father of 12 children. I can truly say the little boy on the picture grew to be a magnificent man and I am honored to share his story with the world.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Randall Ponder

I am so excited to finally to on the faces. I have already mentioned that this picture was taken in 1943, so I want to fast forward to tell you what became of all four of the children on this picture.

Randall Ponder was the first face that I tackled on the quilt. He was born on August 24, 1940. As you can see from the picture, he was very tall for his age. He was the second born of Mattie Ruth Lewis Ponder and Joe Davis Ponder. He graduated from Henry County Training School in 1957. He was a 1961 graduate of Clark College and went on to earn his Masters of Education from the University of Georgia in 1968.

He joined Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in his youth. While attending Clark College, he was an active member of Flipper Temple AME in Atlanta. He was an active member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity after pledging at Clark College. When he returned home from college, he joined Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Randall began his professional educational career in 1961 as a classroom teacher at Henry County School System as Adult Education Teacher, School Social Worker/Visiting Teacher, FTE Coordinator, Facilities Assistant, Coordinator of Adult and Community Education, High School Principal, Special Eduation Coordinator, Federal Programs Director, Personnel Coordinator, and Athletic Director/Head Coach for Football, Basketball, and Track.

Of the many jobs he held in the school system, I think the Principal position was the most controversial. It was the year 1971, and Henry County was on the brink of being integrated. Henry County claimed to not have enough money to build a new school. The school on the black side of town proved to be large enough to accommodate the size of the merged schools. The two schools were merged and the white children were bused to our side of town.  It was amazing how fast Henry County found the land and the money to build a new school back across town in the white neighborhood.

I said all that to say that Randall Ponder was the first African-American principal to lead the newly integrated Henry County Senior High School in McDonough. He served as Principal for about 15 years.
He was the father of three sons and G-Daddy to a host of grandchildren.

The honor is all mine. This quilt will be a treasure for a long time to come.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Dresses

The time is moving along smoothly. I have suffered every frustration with the speed or lack-there-of of this project. I finally finished the leaves and other greenery to my satisfaction.

The picture is from 1943. It seems to be full summer and a time of gathering for cousins at their grandmother's house.

I was there last week at that same house for our annual family renuion. Our family has been gathering there for more than seventy years. It looks pretty much the same. The house is sinking and the shutters have been updated. It also needs a new paint job, but the joy and memories we all share at that house are astonishing.  My grandmother used to tell us she was born there in that front bedroom in 1886. She lived in that house all her life and died in that same room in 1974. It was a good life. It was full of family and love. She and my grandfather had ten children and a hell of a lot of grand-children. The land the house sits on had two major pecan trees, several volunteer pecan trees, a peach tree, and several pear trees. We all played on the big rock under the pecan tree and picked pears from the tree nearest the back porch. Most of all there is a big open field that we all played on and my children played there and now my grandchildren are playing there.

I am very much aware that it is a blessing to be able to share that kind of longevity with my family. Many of us (African Americans) do not know our family history. My family works very hard to keep that knowledge alive and pass it along to our children and grandchildren. This quilt is going to be an important part of that legacy that we pass along. I'll tell you a little story about what/who each child on this quilt grew up to be. 

Can hardly wait.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Yellow Brick Road

Just as Dorothy made it down the yellow brick road, I too have been making my way to the Wizard. This journey has  arduous at best. I love how it is shaping up. The shirt on the second outfit may need a little more detailing. Can't wait to do their faces and a picture of what they are eating. Feeling like skipping ahead but that wouldn't be right. I must stay the course. Next I have to make two little girl dresses. That should go fast.

I must confess that when I started with the picture and the image in my head, I wasn't so sure how it would go. I told myself that if I followed the yellow brick road, I would make it. Then it started to take shape. The colors are coming in and bringing it to life.

Last week I launched my first ever campaign on I am pretty excited about it.
This campaign gives me an opportunity to bring you a quality calendar for 2014 and gives you the opportunity to own several Art Quilt pictures for your collection. I am always so grateful to all the people who have and continue to support my efforts. Your contribution will help make the calendar a worldwide success and help me continue my quest to explore the art of quilting.
This quilting thing is in my genes. It started a long time ago with my ancestors, primarily with my Great Grandmother Emma. I have been told many times about her great quilting skills. Yes my cousin tells me often that I am carrying on Grand Emma's tradition. I am sure she too was carrying on a tradtion from her grandmother and a grandmother before that. I'm proud to be able to carry the tradition on and thankful to you supporting my journey.

All I need you to do is go to and contribute.
I have set up some wonderful perks with you in mind. Just $5-$10 will go a long way in making it happen. You will get a calendar either way you go.

Pledge $10.00 and get one Jazzy Blues 2014 Art Quilt Calendar, a 2014 Art Quilt Calendar Magnet, and a shoutout on OBA Quilts Facebook page. That is exciting!
The campaign goal is $6000.00, it will be used to publish, print and ship the calendars. Growing up in the rural south, I rarely saw artwork that reflected the soul of my community and people. I decided to create the kind of art that I craved. It is my dream that I contribute to the visions of young people who are newly introduced to art as well as adult art lovers. I choose a calendar as the vehicle because it is a great way to collect art that everyone can afford. Contributors to this project will help me spread my love of art to a vast audience.
I am so excited about this fourth calendar. As you may know, I made my very first calendar in 2009-Two Step; in 2011 I followed with Laughter, Lessons and Triumphs; and in 2012 Metamorphosis was born. Now I am happy to top it all off with Jazzy Blues. It is a journey into Improvisation.

If you can't contribute, there are other ways you can help. You can help me make some noise. Spread the word to everyone you know.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Multi Tasking

I can say for sure that I am a lover of multi tasking. Yesterday, I found myself saying, "multi tasking is for the birds." Shame on me, but I do wonder sometimes if doing a lot of things at once is really a good thing. I am sure my parents watched us as more external stimuli held our attention less and less. We no longer had time to curl up with a good book. "Just watch the book made into a movie on tv; or worse yet get the Cliff notes so you will know enough to pass the test," we would say. I would have missed some really good books if I had held to that philosophy. Now I look at my grandchildren's generation and it is moving even faster. Who has time for tv, watch it on your phone or the computer and fast forward past the commercials. If the world keeps going faster and faster with each generation, where will it end up? I also wonder what my grandmother thought about the world she was leaving me in.

Well anyway, I have been multi tasking like crazy. I feel bad that I haven't gotten to my newsletter but it is getting higher on the list. I started making the outfits for the children on the quilt.
I'm really pleased with the way this one turned out. I had to stop myself from getting too detailed. Afterall, it is just a quilt. I used several different white fabrics in this quilt so that difference between things could be noted easily. I used some kona white on the house. Then I found some white linen in my stash and used that on outfit number one. I had another piece of white that I used on his shirt. Can't wait to find more different ones for the other outfits. The leaves are finally almost finished. Nothing has moved as fast as I wanted it to but it's coming along.

I have to admit that I am getting a little antsy. I catch myself thinking about the next project a lot. I need to be thinking about this one A LOT. I will get it done though because I've got multi tasking on my side.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Week of Leaves

To tell the strange truth I have enjoyed sewing leaves on the quilt. It has taken a lot longer than I planned but that seems to be my claim to fame. I used to make a "Things To Do TODAY" list and it would take me a week or two to do it all. When I calculate in my brain how long it will take me to make something, I don't take into account unforseen things popping up-like cooking dinner.

This week a lot of pop-ups happened. The time I thought I had for sewing turned into volunteering on someone else's project. I worked some late nights to make up the missed time. I still need to put some more leaves in but I can see the end in sight. I'm getting a litte excited about transitioning to the people. I am going to start with the clothes first, then to the faces.

I did get some insight about the picture this week. It was taken about 1943 after a funeral. All four of the children in the picture grew up to be great participants in the affairs of the world. I am working hard to make this a fitting tribute to them.

The quilt has definitely come a long way since I started with the plain white house. I guess that is the real story. What brings life to an otherwise dull and boring house is vegetation and people. This house is slowly coming to life. Therefore, an empty house without people will eventually revert back to lifelessness and die.

Monday, May 13, 2013


I recently found out that the picture was taken after a funeral. Now my new detective job is to find out whose funeral it was. I suspected that it was a funeral since the boys had on white. It has always been a belief in my family that children wear white to funerals. I remember my sister frantically going from store to store trying to find some appropriate white outfit for my younger sister and I to wear to a funeral.
With all that said, I am inching my way along on the greenery. I spend my evenings cutting leaves. I cut a bag full, thinking that I had done a lot. The next morning I sewed them on in about an hour and it covered about 4 inches. That is when I realized that it is going to take so many leaves that I can't even imagine. So last night, I cut another bag full. I am all over the place working on the leaves and grass. I get tired of working on one spot and shift to another spot. Then I try to stay focused and work on one area. That lasts a little while.
I'm really getting a little antsy to work on the children. I think I may work on their clothes a little bit. Saving the faces for last. Anyway, it has come a long way from the first white blob. Thanks for checking in on my progress. I can call it progress, can't I? ha ha ha

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Slow Progress

My hope is that the greenery will be so detailed that it will add so much beauty to the picture. I just started it. I thought I would be much farther along by now. I had rationed myself a week to work on the greenery. I am into the second week and working hard to finish it this week. It looks like it will take some really late nights to make that happen.

I am working on getting some history of this picture. Thinking that the history might help me come up with a fitting name, unless one of you come up with something even better. Right now I am calling it "Four" just as my reference, but that is not what I want for the name.

Friday, May 3, 2013

First Construction

I started building the house for the quilt. I have to admit that it doesn't look like much, but it will. This is the foundation for something great to come. Or at least that is my plan.

Is this how the Wizard of Oz felt when Diana Ross pulled back the curtain to find that he was only smoke and mirrors? When I first start with this blob, I can see the finished product. Something is missing in this picture, though. Plan to go to the fabric store tomorrow. I will post another look once I get that fixed.

Over the years I have noticed that most people do not see my vision or care to. Then there are those special few- who can see where you are going -- or are willing to wait to see where you are going.

I have met those who ask me what I am going to do next and then proceed to tell me what they think I should do. I pray that I am not one of those people. When someone shows me a work in progress, I consciously look and listen. Then try to follow their dream.  So much of the work goes on inside one's head that it is magical when it finally makes sense in reality.

I am starting on the greenery and shrubs next. I am pretty excited about all the different colors of green I have to work with as well as all the techniques I want to try in order to make it look real. That is always the goal, and hope that each time I get closer to that look.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Breaking Through

I have just started a new project. I have also envied the artists that can post their work in progress. Fear has gripped me deep in my stomach at the thought of going through my process in the public eye. This year I am working on breaking through some of my stagnant habits. This may prove to be good for me and my process or not. We shall all see.

It has to be good for my spiritual development though. It is never good to be stuck. This is the project I have just started. I have a little more of a time limit on this one than I like to have, but it may make me work a little harder and consistent on this one quilt.

This is my rough sketch on paper. I don't have a name for it yet, but I am hoping that you all will help me with that. I am holding my breath and getting ready to post the first stage of fabric work soon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spring is coming so fast. I remember as a small child watching family members clean like crazy. As I got older and was added to the cleaning frenzy, I realized that I didn't like it at all. I guess it was one of those necessary evils. Washing, scrubbing, dusting and cleaning. I loved that we got an opportunity to go outside, but I just wanted to be outside playing instead of cleaning blinds. I wanted to go around and look at the daffodils and the camellias. I loved flowers and how they helped me learn to tell time. Global warming has changed some of that schedule but yesterday I saw some daffodils laughing in the sunlight. That made me think that all was well with the world.
So in honor of impending spring, I have set aside many quilts on my website for the purging fate. My purge will be your treasure. I've set quilts at bottom line door buster prices. I felt a little twinge of the gruelling spring cleaning rituals as I lowered one price after another. I guess it is one of those necessary evils.
Do me a favor. At least go to the website and look, even if you don't buy today. And tell all your friends about the sale. Help me get these quilts out of the closets and on to your bare walls that are screaming for art or onto your beds that long for that little touch of beauty and handmade warmth.