The nature of textile art lends itself well to the process of grief and bereavement.
You’ve probably heard of the AIDS quilt, where loved ones create quilt blocks in memory of people who have passed away from the disease. When I was in grad school, I was lucky enough to be able to see some of the traveling panels in person. It’s a lovely (and now humongous) project.
Loved ones leave behind many items, but fabrics and textiles are easily repurposed. Sherri Lynn Wood calls them Passage Quilts.
But, cloth homages to our loved ones are not limited only to quilting. Allison Ann Aller of Allie’s in Stitches talks about losing her brother in a tragic accident many years ago. She embroidered her brother’s name subtly onto the beach in a lovely landscape she was making. I love how she described her process (quoted below), and I encourage you to click the link to view the gorgeous images.
This quilt is about many things for me….the place I love best in the natural world, the cottage itself that houses so much of my family’s history, my desire to push the envelope of what my crazy quilting can be…..but it is also about my brother, Freddie. . .
And the waves still lap the shore there, the sun still lights up the water and the woods, and we still find great joy on that porch, where such horrible news was delivered in July of 1958….that’s part of the incredible blessing of a place like Michillinda. It absorbs all the drama of our little lives, it’s unchanging beauty and rhythms give us a sense of perspective, and we have a polestar to refer to when all else is in flux….
So I had to write Freddie’s name in the sand on the beach….
I can’t tell you how wonderful it has felt for me to do this. Now the quilt is saying what it is meant to say in its entirety.
Have you seen, made, or received a memory quilt? Would you consider making one, or do you disagree with the idea of them? Please tell us about it.