Monday, November 10, 2008

Commission Complete

On Tuesday last week, in addition to voting and then standing outside the polling station all afternoon selling treats to benefit my daughter's Latin club, I joined my colleagues in Lowell to hang our completed quilt, Healing Pieces, at the Greater Lowell Visiting Nurses Association.

This quilt began with an idea: Honor one hundred years of nursing in the community by reaching out to the community. After obtaining a grant from the Lowell Cultural Council, the VNA came to Maxine Farkas, arts organizer extraordinaire, asking for textile artists interested in making a quilt. She passed the request on to Lowell Fiber Studio.

During my family's encounters with cancer, dementia, and old age, organizations like the VNA helped my family. So I volunteered to head the project.We worked from interviews with actual patients, drawing our images from their words. The wisteria (not lilac, though I keep calling it that) -- which twines up fences in even the poorest neighborhoods, became our main symbol. Its roots suggested both history and connection. Its blossoms reminded us of growth and love. We collected images, made idea boards, and discussed composition.Because patients compared the VNA's help to both the stars at night as well as the sun rising, we set the wisteria against a progression from night through dawn to afternoon. We settled on major elements - horizon, wisteria, houses. We dyed sky and ground fabrics. Then we divided the quilt into 5 panels, with 2 artists on a panel, and went to work. It felt like walking into the void.

So here it is, 6 months later. Amazing.photo by Adrien Bisson

Sharon Sawyer and Gwen Stith took the photos of houses and mills of Lowell. Everyone unstintingly donated fabric, lace, expertise and time. Kudos to all: Cathy Granese, Ann Lee and Sonja Lee-Austin, Margot Stage, Sharon Sawyer, Gwen Stith, Laura Gawlinski, Susan Webber, and Merill Commeau. A remarkable piece.

16 comments:

Judy said...

That is an amazing quilt of art Linda. I'm sure it is even more lovely and impressive in person.

Rayna said...

Beautiful, Linda.

Rayna said...
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Linda B. Dunn said...

The officials at the VNA told us more than person started to cry when they saw it. What you can't see in this photo is that words from the interviews - in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Cambodian - are woven throughout the piece. So there's much to be discovered when you get close, as there is to enjoy when you stand far away.

mimi k said...

it is so beautiful! Amazing accomplishment!

Christine Marie said...

Linda the work is so beautiful, and the stories behind it even more so. Love it!

花蓮民宿黃頁 said...
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Maxine said...

The Lowell Cultural Council provided funding for the project as well.

Lucie Wicker Photography said...

BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations!

Karoda said...

the words from the interviews make the quilt so encompassing of community...it is a beatiful quilt

frasswino said...

Wow, it's lovely. Wish I could see it.

Vivien said...

This is beautiful and will bring comfort. Congratulations.

Majenta Designs said...

Wow that is STUNNING! I love the colors in the sky with the sun and the lilacs, its so breathtaking, congrats! :)

-Jennifer T.
from www.majentadesigns.etsy.com

Kathy said...

Gorgeous. Inspired. Amazing

Jenny said...

is absolutely fabulous - well done all of you. Just one small niggle though - lilac is a bush - surely you mean wisteria?

Linda B. Dunn said...

You're right! I have *consistently* called it lilac, and, of course, it is a wisteria. Not really a tree, but tall and shade-providing, like a tree, when it gets older.