Labor of Love, a Still-life Painting Series with Quilts
– This is the background story to my Labor of Love series and how it all began –
As a child, I was encouraged to explore the world with a craftsmanship mentality, focusing on activities that required attention to detail and time to nurture and develop. This worldview has stayed with me, now as a practicing artist and as a mother of a young daughter.
I have a love of working with my hands and this is the primary feature of all the various interests and hobbies I have pursued through life. When I was a young girl, my grandmother and aunt taught me all about sewing and embroidery, whereas my grandfather and I built furniture together and my mother introduced me to the joys of gardening. These early experiences have fed my love of hand-cultivated arts and have influenced my subject matter for oil paintings.
In 2010, when I was expecting the birth of my daughter, I decided to make a quilt for her. The experience was wonderful, choosing the fabrics, deciding on a pattern and then watching it slowing come together as I worked on it in the evenings. So inspired by the experience of my first completed quilt, I went on to make three more that year, one more for Naomi and one each for newborn nieces.
As the quilt-making experiences unfolded, I realized that making a quilt is more than an industrious hobby, but a physical manifestation of love, sharing your soul with another, hoping to provide comfort and warmth in the years to come.
In 2013, my in-laws moved out of their home of 40 years and my husband and I were given many random items as they downsized. Some of the stuff included a box of fabric scraps that had come from my husband’s great-grandmother and beyond. There was some yardage of civil-war era cotton calico, a completed quilt top of depression-era prints and plaids, and hand-pieced arcs that go into making a double wedding ring quilt pattern. Because I was bitten by the quilting bug three years before, I meticulously went through all the scraps and pieces. It soon became clear I had enough arcs to create a double wedding ring quilt. It took about two years to piece together the arcs and then hand quilt the quilt, and while I stitched, I kept thinking about how this quilt would be a beautiful still-life subject to paint.
In January 2015, I began the first painting of this new still-life series. My goal is to explore the intersection of traditional hand-cultivated arts and representational oil painting, incorporating quilts and various items that inspire my respect of craftsmanship. The first painting of this series, Created with Love, featured the double wedding ring quilt. I added my favorite wintertime flower, an amaryllis, to the composition in reference to my other passionate interest, gardening. When I finished this initial painting, I continued to paint additional compositions incorporating other quilts, and I intend to continue this series in the future.
Labor of Love Series
(in order of completion)