about the artist

I Remember Mama

What have I been doing for the last week and a half? Remembering my mother for a quilt that I am entering in the I Remember Mama exhibit for the International Quilt Festivals in Houston and Chicago. Karey Bresenhan changed the requirements so that we can send jpegs. And after talking to Joy Lily, the silk artist who taught us Shibori dyeing, I thought I would try to do a whole cloth silk painting. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread and we know which one I am!!

My mother was a pretty amazing woman. She died when she was about my age in an automobile accident. She knitted way before knitting was cool or maybe it was cool back then. She quilted, made and dressed antique reproduction dolls and was the BEST pie and biscuit baker ever. Once when she was leaving our home after Lisa was born, Mark, who was two, said – “No more ackle pie, no more chokit cake.” She also was a huge sports fan and loved the NY Giants. She did at least one crossword puzzle every day. And when she was at home she always wore an apron and she always had the TV on! She did all this while raising 5 children (I was the oldest) and fulfilling the role of a farmer’s wife which meant grading eggs, canning maple syrup, gardening, canning, freezing food for the family, preparing huge meals for the harvesters. I could go on and on.

Her name was Rachael Emmiline. Here she is, in the printed dress, with my aunt Grace and Grandma Mary at the nursing home. I used this photo as my model to draw her.

In Joy Lily’s method of silk painting, she draws the image on freezer paper, in reverse, and irons it to the wrong side of the silk. The washout resist is then applied following the lines on the freezer paper. Here is my cartoon done on freezer paper:

Here it is partially painted.

Here it is sandwiched and ready to quilt.

And here is the finished quilt.

OK. No giggles. This was a big departure for me. I did it. I sent in a cd of the images and it doesn’t really matter whether I get accepted or not. It was a wonderful journey remembering mama.

22 Responses to “I Remember Mama”

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  9. tender arts says:

    I think this is a beautiful way to remember your mother. I’m sure she’s smiling down on it. You’ve inspired me to think of a way to honor my mom. Thanks.

  10. joy madison says:

    very cool! love to see the process. thanks for sharing it with us.

  11. Elle says:

    No giggling here! To read about your mother and then see this special piece…thanks for sharing with us!!

  12. Karoda says:

    Gerrie, I think this is cool and very special!

  13. Debra says:


    That’s a great piece. And did you quilt it with a floral stripe like old wallpaper??

  14. gabrielle says:

    Gerrie, what a wonderful tribute to your mom…you captured her for all of us.

  15. PaMdora says:

    What do you mean, no giggles? I think you did a fabulous job!

  16. amanda says:

    This is so wonderful! What a special process it must have been for you–remembering your mama so. And a fascinating project as well…

  17. stephanie says:

    i like her apron! (of course) and is that sunbonnet sue?

  18. mom
    that is really cool. you really captured all of her loves and passions so beautiful. and it really does look like her!

  19. lizzieb says:

    This is really great, Gerrie! What a change from what you usually do!

  20. Diane says:

    How wonderful! I loved reading about your mother, and I love that you stretched yourself artistically in your effort to honor her. It’s a great piece — I can’t wait to see it in person.

  21. Wow, this is such a lovely VIBRANT piece!

    And goodonya for stepping outside your comfort zone and trying the silk painting – it looks great!