Sunday, August 14, 2016

Celebrating Femininity

In July I launched my new book "Inspired By Her; Celebrating Femininity through Art Quilts" because I realized that about 60% of my quilts were celebrating women. I set out to understand this seeming obsession with creating women doing so many different things.

I ended up with a vast understanding of how so many women have effected my life story. They were not all saints but they were the strongest influences for me. I wanted to thank a lot of people but could not thank them all by name. So I decided to dedicate the book to all my friends' mothers who showed me the way consciously and maybe times when they didn't know I was watching them.
Mrs. Mattie Pittman

Mrs. Mattie Pittman was one of my two best friends mother, She was soft spoken and kind. She could cook anything on a wood burning stove. She amazed me every time she pulled that perfect pound cake out of that oven. I loved visiting her house, so much so that I wanted to stay with them. She kindly told me that I had to go home. 

Mrs. Marion Daniel
Mrs. Marion Daniel was the other of my best friends mother, She always looked at me like I was up to something and I was. She knew. I always felt like she could see through me. She would ask me sharp pointed questions. I would try to answer fast and give as little information as possible. I knew if I kept talking I would give away the real reason we were doing what we were doing or going where we were going. She knew the real reason was - boys, what else did teenagers have to think about. I think her watchful eye kept us on a good path. 
Mrs. Ann McMullen

Mrs. Ann McMullen was a wonderful example of motherhood. She taught me the importance of family staying close. She had a large family and was still a very attentive mother. My girlfriend was feisty and I am sure she got it from her. She called her mother "Hot Rod." I loved visiting with her. She always had a smile and a laugh even after her illness got worse.

Mrs. Marion Cleveland
Mrs. Marion Cleveland was the best at teaching me to ignoring what seemed to be a difficult situation. We all thought her husband was so mean. Whenever we wanted to come over to play with her girls, she would say it was alright but he would look at us with a scowl. She would usher us inside past him and treat us so kind. She seemed to have a kindness that melted his anger. She was strong in her convictions, a friend to other women in the church and a really good mother. You never realize how much you are learning just watching someone's actions. 

Mrs. Dorothy Brown
Mrs. Dorothy Brown was the youngest of all the mothers (or at least she seemed that way). She influenced me most when her daughter and I were little children playing in the yard. I can't think of her without remembering eating fried green tomatoes under the table in her dining room. We were barely in elementary school and still small enough to sit under the table. She talked to us and was understanding. She liked to have a good time and my favorite picture of her is at a nightclub with her husband. I learned that a good time was an important part of life by watching her. 

Mrs. Rosetta Hinton
Mrs. Rosetta Hinton was the mother that I watched from afar. I learned what a stern mother looked like from the things her daughter would say about her. Her daughter and I got in a lot of trouble together. Mrs. Rosetta would always be my measuring stick if we went too far. Yeah we went too far a couple of times. I am sure she never knew it but she disciplined me through her daughter. She was a pillar of strength in the community for me. I was so blessed to have Mrs. Rosetta in my life.

Mrs. Nellie McKibben
Last but certainly not least was Mrs. Nellie Ruth McKibben. She was Mama to me. She let me be one of her children. I came and went as if I were a sister to her daughters. She taught me to cook some of her best dishes. I am still trying to perfect her Caramel Cake. I ate way too much of her food on Sunday. She seemed to be a very independent married women. She had her own money. She went to her meetings and had friends. I learned that balance was good in marriage from her and so much more. She always had a smile and kind words. She also did not hesitate to put me in place when I was out. I felt her love and am so grateful for that.

Most of them were really young women when we were growing up. We didn't realize that. They all let me call them by their first names (except Mrs. Rosetta), which I would never do today. I think it was because they were still real young ladies and their own mothers were still in their lives. Their mothers were the Mrs. not them. Most of all they were kind to me. I don't know why that meant so much to me then but I try to follow their example and be kind to people.

I guess that is some of the  inspiration for my art, my life and my marriage. I can truly say that I was inspired by HER!

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