A quilt for Della

It’s Tuesday afternoon. The weather is warm out here in the shed. I’ve turned off the air conditioner , it’s too noisy when I try to listen to music. I’m listening to music to put to my presentation on Thursday night…..
The family have been here all day and it’s rather difficult to get my work done… but family is important and of course I have the best kids and grandkids in the world.!!!!!!

So… I’ve finished the quilt.
Let me tell you about it.
When I was 11, I was sent to Tasmania to spend time with my Grandparents. I didn’t know them very well. They were authoritarian and there was certainly no freedom or humor in the house. The were Plymouth Brethren. (my family were Exclusive Brethren) Austere and rather lacking in the ways of an 11 year old girl.
However, I loved listening to Nana’s stories about her early life, she talked about her brothers and sisters, many who became famous artisans, and I remember her singing hymns in her crystal voice as she played her auto harp with her knotty bent fingers. As an aside….She also burnt the biscuits every week and tried to feed me onions in white sauce. (for brain food) she said…..
With no reading matter, no radio, no visits from people outside the "meeting" and hour long prayer meetings every evening I learned to entertain myself with drawing and teaching myself to play the piano. Mr Onley, the grumpy man who looked like scrooge in a khaki dust coat worked in the workshop under the house and would bang on the ceiling when I began to play…. so I stomped back at him with my feet……. Grumpy old man

Where does this all dialog lead? 

In one of the cupboards I found a stash of Saturday Evening Posts. I think an errant Uncle left them there at some stage.
I lived my life through that pile of magazines… I think I knew them off by heart, word for word…..
Many of the covers were illustrated by Norman Rockwell


and he remains one of my favorite artists to
this day.

I remember sitting in the sun out on the veranda one day. I settled down on the old wooden chair and watched the boats ply up the Tamar and then I opened one of the magazines. Two faces stared out at me. A lady and a man with a pitchfork. I studied every inch of that picture…. who were they? why did the man have a pitchfork, he looked like the men in the congregation of the "meeting" Stern, Sad, or was it angry?

I have a special friend called Della Moon. I met her at Houston when I won best of show. The win was bitter sweet at a hard time in my life, and Dear Della was in a similar situation. We became friends as one does when you meet a special person. Della and her girls followed me to many teaching venues and we became good friends.
Two years ago, Di  Mill, Della and I took off for Paducah when I had to receive an award. It was an hilarious trip. We laughed constantly and shared many misadventures. I purchased an Antique quilt on that trip. It was made in he 1800’s, hand pieced, quilted and showing signs of wear. It is pure American folk art.

18 months ago, I was staying with Della and I drove to Chicago with Della’s brother Glen. We
visited his favorite German restaurant and the Museum of Art and History. I got to realize my dream and viewed the painting of "American  Gothic" the painting I loved in childhood.
I purchased a poster and bought it home.

I learned that the painting was painted by Grant Wood in the 1930’s. He admired a house with a Gothic window in the small town of Eldon Ohio. He asked his sister to sit for a portrait …she  was the woman in the picture. She is supposed to be the unmarried daughter of the man with a pitchfork.
He was actually modeled by Grant Woods Dentist.

Our Della passed away a year ago. I miss her terribly and decided to make a quilt as her legacy. My version of American Gothic.
But mine is a little different. Larger than life it sits atop the antique quilt we bought in Paducah which serves as a background and border.


You will have to wait and see that in Melbourne, it’s difficult to photograph as it’s rather large.
I have used a lot of different techniques in the picture. It’s completely machine appliquéd and quilted. The faces are trapuntoed a little (which means I had to slit the fabric to put the extra padding in…..and as I illustrated the back of the quilt, I added band aid appliqué to their faces as comic relief and to cover the raw slits….

Della would have loved it….

Della Honey this is for you….


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Di says:

    Love the bandaids Pam…you funny girl!

  2. Teresa Shaver says:

    Thank you for sharing my mom with others. Mom is smiling at you Pam.

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