I’ve been working with glass since 1995 when my grandfather taught me the basics of stained glass panel work, which would eventually lead to my creating these stained glass quilts.
Throughout time, quilts have become the byproduct of history, documenting the culture and the environment of the people who created them. In the time of homesteading in the United States, the friendship quilt provided comfort to those who traded their homes, family, and friends in the East for the uncertainty of traveling through the vast prairies as they headed West. These quilts were usually created by a group of friends who stitched their names and messages of faith, hope, and love into the panels. As these courageous pioneer families navigated their way through the unknown, these quilts brought a sense of comfort and connection and memorialized the way of life they had left behind. Similarly, the AIDS quilt, the largest piece of community folk art, is the premiere symbol of the AIDS pandemic. It memorializes a time in our history and the lives that were lost.
These past few years have a similar resonance of suffering, isolation, and navigating the unknown. I created this work during the isolation of the COVID pandemic, and I call it Silver Linings as a result of the unexpected gifts it provided. Creating these pieces provided grounding and structure during the uncertain times of the shutdown. Much like the pioneers, I, like many of us, have had to navigate through the uncertainty with faith, hope, and courage. Recalling the legacy of the friendship quilt, I discovered my own messages and quotes from people throughout history that have provided me inspiration. For me, creating tangible art out of something as ephemeral as an idea, a word, or a memory has become an act of hope and survival.
This show provides a glimpse into my creative process, which makes me smile, lifts my spirits, and reminds me to, even in adversity, always look for the silver linings.