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.
Most of all I want my work to reflect my great African heritage as well as the ups and downs of our American experience. I never planned to be an artist. I simply loved participating in any procedure where I used my hands. I found my interest leaning towards fabrics and the way textiles spoke to me in a musical voice. The colors, designs and textures moved in and out with a special rhythm.
I strive to capture that musical movement with every piece I create. I reflect it in my quilts and outwardly in my own voice through my quilt stories. I love to create from traditional quilt patterns as well as contemporary designs. I want that mixture to touch a healing spot somewhere deep inside the viewer. I try all kinds of techniques and work hard to go outside my own box.
I like to use colors that dance like the gold-orange setting sun over the Serengeti, the green grasses swaying on the Nubian Savannahs or the bright pink hibiscus blossoms kissing the Caribbean breeze. I hear that same music as the colors and design s all come together. I want the viewer to first feel and then hear the strength of that rhythm. Surely, I want my quilts to tell a story and maybe even SING!