Mourning Through Sewing
Thank you Janis for inviting me to participate in your blog.
Working with thread and textiles is almost as essential to my well-being as eating and sleeping. Whenever I am very happy (as when a new grandchild is born), worried or grieving I go to my sewing machine, threads and fabric stash (or to my surface design supplies). And so it was when my mother died. It took a year before I could really focus on what I needed and wanted to say. But then the design came all in a rush. This is the quilt I made.
Kit was born in China (my grandfather was a doctor and my grandmother an English professor) and live there until senior year in high school. Both Cantonese and English were her first languages. And my grandfather’s passion was growing and identifying new species of orchids. Her life in the United States after college centered around her 5 children, music and the piano, husband and their activities. These parts of her my mother’s story drove the choices of photos that I printed onto silk organza; and the machine embroidered Chinese characters that spoke to her life. I also included things that she would say, poems that resonated with who she was, and her handwriting.
I drew on Korean bojagi to structure the quilt. Bojagi are wrapping cloths and this quilt symbolically wraps up my memories and emotions. I painted silk organza in her favorite colors. And I added hand stitched “patches” to reference what is broken in life and relationships.