Tag Archives: prayer cloth

Hearts for Charleston – Nancy

Nancy Erisman of California sent a cloth square for the “Hearts for Charleston” quilt and it is a beauty!!

It is dedicated to Cynthia Hurd who, like Nancy’s mother, was devoted to books (Ms. Hurd was a librarian, Nancy’s mother an English teacher, and then clerk in a bookstore). To represent the deceased’s love of books, Nancy wove in fabrics printed with book spines as well as a cloth printed with cursive words.

I really encourage you to read about the making of the square on Nancy’s blog: Pomegranate Trail, here (and also 5 or 6 posts before that), because the amount of love and care and remembrance of Ms. Cynthia Hurd that went into this square is very, very moving. The heart is surrounded by a red blanket stitch. Here’s what Nancy wrote about that:

I wrapped her heart in a blanket stitch to symbolize the loving care she gave to all of the patrons of the library…
to symbolize the love she gave to her friends, family and church community…
to symbolize the love those who knew her gave back to her…
to symbolize the loving care we should all give to each other…to symbolize the loving care that, because of this tragedy, is being shared with Cynthia’s family.

A good blanket stitch can say all of that. 

 

IMG_0904Of the stitches radiating outward from the heart, Nancy wrote:

The ripples grew and grew and grew.
They began close to the heart in red to symbolize both the love 
Cynthia shared and the love sent back to her.
They began as a heart shape.
Hugging close in.
As they radiated outward/inward, the heart shape morphed into a lumpy circle.
Years from now, way out in the edges of the ripple…
may Cynthia be remembered well.
The stitches turned blue to represent the community.
The community who knew her.
The community who loved her.
The community who only got to know her because of her untimely passing.
The community surrounding her, holding her in light and strength.

There are a lot of stitches.

This beautiful embellishment is attached to a button and looks exactly like the braids on the cover of “Americanah” (which I happen to be reading right now).   There are eight, to symbolize the other members of the congregation who passed. Nancy hopes that people will feel free to touch the braids and take comfort from them. Again, I share what Nancy wrote:

As I braided the eight, I considered the Black Lives Matter movement and I hoped these could be used as a physical source for comfort for those remembering 
Cynthia and the others…
for those deeply troubled by the current state of affairs.
It is comforting to hold them.

The central heart is patterned with a finger paint print, giving the heart depth and movement. In Nancy’s mind, it speaks to Ms. Hurd’s uniqueness: The finger paint fabric… was used to symbolize Cynthia’s beautiful uniqueness…to represent her, as individual as her fingerprint.

Nancy has added a series of shooting stars to its surface.


Like all the other squares, the reverse side is as beautiful as the front, albeit in a different way. It’s clear to me that when I attach the squares to each other, I shall have to leave the backs exposed, somehow.  Thank you, Nancy, for radiating such love with your words and your stitches!

Hearts for Charleston — Gillan

heartsforcharleston-gillan

Next up: Gillan Wang — a Newton, Mass. fiber artist who brings her talent and wit to a variety of styles. She took my year long class awhile back and has gone on to show in galleries and host several successful “Newton Open Studios”. Some of her work is functional, like fiber bowls, some is illustration-driven, while other pieces are more conceptual. Here is her website: ArtbyGillanIMG_2323

Each of the congregants is represented by beads spelling out their initials.  And, each set of initials is linked, by stitch, to a star. There’s “MT” for Myra Thompson and “SCS” for Sharonda Coleman Singleton.

IMG_2325Gillan chose commercial prints depicting celestial scenes, along with a deep blue silk, and some strips of indigo. Woven together, these strips create a night time sky. By stitching the initials of the deceased on these fabrics, she places them in heaven.

Only one small red heart speaks to the tragedy.

  She used a transparent star-patterned sheer for the primary heart. It is wonderful how we can see the underlying patterning! And there’s a stamped spiral on the right that seems to go to or from one of the background stars, continuing the theme of shooting stars. By surrounding the heart with bugle beads, Gillan added luster and definition.

All in all, I love the sparkly, star-studded surface. It speaks to expansion, healing, and a universe that is big enough to hold all our joy and pain. There is also a child-like quality to this piece that brings in a welcome sense of innocence. 
This square will catch the light in many varied ways and hopefully please the onlookers.

Thank you, Gillan!!

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”.

Hearts for Charleston — Kathy

heartsforcharleston-kathydorfer

This eloquent square by Kathy Dorfer for the “Hearts for Charleston” quilt renders me almost (but not quite) speechless.

Variegated thread thickly applied in a whip stitch spell out the words:  “Love heals”. Kathy sprinkled white ‘thread beads’ around the phrase, making it seem as though it sparkles and pops with power, or perhaps, that it is sprawled across the heavens.

loveheals-kathydorfer

quilt-heartsforcharleston-heals

A red cross constructed of slightly darker shades of red is centered within the heart and calls to mind universal symbol for ‘the Red Cross’.  The red cross echoes the theme of healing, particularly healing in a time of emergency.

Organic, tendril-like emanations give us the sense of energy radiating outwards. It is almost as if we can see the healing happening right before our eyes.

heartsforcharleston-love-kathy

Kathy’s white kantha stitch runs horizontally and unifies the blue woven strips. The white stitching integrates her layers and makes me think about the power of binding processes — the binding of wounds, of communities, of ideas.

The back of each and every quilt square has been wonderful to examine. Look at this one! The heart in reverse is a near-empty space, something I find poignant for reasons I can’t really articulate. On the other hand, the emanating tendrils look ganglionic and nearly comical. The white thread beads on the underside connect up in jagged long stitches, creating a shape almost like a cartoon bubble. The phrase is still unmistakable.

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Kathy included a beautifully stamped and blue washed card inscribed with an inspirational quote from Maya Angelou.

IMG_2306Thank you, Kathy. Such a striking and loving contribution!

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”.