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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Erika's World

My sister in law asked me this summer if I would make her an art quilt wall hanging for her den. She asked that it be about her mom. Thus Erika's World was born. Erika is my ma-in-law, and she has been in my life for 30+ years now. We have quite a history...we used to write to each other weekly for MANY years (and she saved all those letters)... we have visited twice a year for many years summer and winter sometimes spring between California where I am and Minnesota where she is now. (Earlier she lived in Cambridge, MA near Harvard Square).
But in her latter years in MN she was pretty home bound in her daughters home in MN where she lived with her grandson from the time he was 6 months old until she was placed in a nursing home this past summer. Grandson is now a senior at the University of MN in the drama dept.
Erika loved to feed the birds and squirrels in their backyard and did so sun or snow on a daily basis.

The quilt depicts as best I could her love of nature and her love of music. You can see her in the upper right hand corner playing the piano in the nursing home where she lives. Dementia plays an active role in her life today. So I am hoping this quilt will bring back pleasant memories for her of those things and family members she loves so much and who love her in return.

This first section in her bird houses, birds and flowers in the back yard of their home. And she and I taken last summer when we visited.

And this is the reverse side of the same section of the quilt. I love how the bobbin threads transfer the picture so nicely again.

Here is the whole thing...birds, trees, ducks, squirrels, music, grandson hanging from center tree, son and ma, daughter being playful bottom left, early photos of Erika and her husband,
Erika and her young children, later photos of Erika and her grown children and grandchild, young Erika, old Erika...the music she loves still, i.e. "Erika's World".
It was a joy to make and I look forward giving it to them this Christmas holiday when we go to visit. I'll report back her reactions and perhaps add some photos of Erika with the quilt.
At the bottom right are photos of ducks that represent a duck family that came back each year to the yard to be fed by Erika. She gave them a pond to swim in too. ;-)
There is a strip of German ribbon across the bottom of this that represents Erika's German heritage. She was born in Berlin. And she came to the US as the war bride of my DH's father.
You can see more of them in an earlier quilt below: 1940's quilt "War, Love and Liberation".
This is the label I made on cloth and hand sewed to the back of the quilt:

And a close up of sunflower with beads added for embellishment sake~

December 2008 by Lynn
Special thanks to Cris, Artist in Oregon, who sent me photos of live birds and squirrels and ducks from her yard that closely matched those in Erika's yard to use in this quilt.