I have had a recurring dream since I was a little girl. We lived in a small house (with silver aluminum siding) right across from a railroad track. In my dream, I was separated from my Mom by the track. I was always trying desperately to get to her but I couldn't. In 2009 my Mom became ill with Alzheimer's, and the dream started occurring more frequently. I figured the track represented Alzheimer's--I couldn't reach her.
I started work on a quilt that would be a physical rendition of my dream. Then, my Mom passed away last June. Now, the track on my quilt represents death; I truly can't reach her. Working on this quilt helped me work through the grief I was feeling.
The "heart" at the top left of the quilt represents me. It is stretched and pulled out of shape and has embroidered Xs on it to represent mending. It is made from fabric I dyed after a flour-paste resist treatment. Here is a close up.
I hand quilted the piece with a pale yellow quilting thread. The quilting on "my" side of the tracks represents my reaching out to her...trying to get to her. The quilting on "her" side of the tracks represents the obstacles blocking my way.
I hand embroidered a Washington Irving quote (in black) on the quilt. It reads, "There is a sadness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love." We read this quote at my Mom's funeral. I wanted the viewer to have to "work" at reading the quote. You can see some of the words here, but you have a lot more trouble seeing them when viewing the whole quilt.
You can click on any of the pictures to get a closer look if you'd like.
I found that working on this quilt brought me some peace during a very difficult time. The handling of the cloth and the time it took to make the quilt (because of the hand quilting and hand embroidery) make me feel very "connected" to it. There can be healing in making art.