Friday, October 17, 2008


This is “Motherhood,” a group art quilt by the Pandoras. Last year, we decided to do a quilt as a group and chose the theme of motherhood. We designed the shape of the panels so that they would fit together, but could still stand independently. Each panel is 12" on its short end, 24" on its long end, and 36" long. Each has a sleeve at the top and bottom, so they can be displayed together, but are not sewn together.

The panels are by (from left:) Grace Howes, Lushorn Millsaps, Susan Brubaker Knapp, and DeLane Rosenau. Each of us chose a different aspect to motherhood that was important to us. We decided that we should all use some blue in our panels so that there would be some continuity, but other than that, were permitted to do what we wanted.

Grace's panel deals with issues surrounding motherhood in Africa: maternal and infant mortality, war, rape, and famine. It shows a woman holding the continent of Africa on her pregnant belly, and is embroidered with tears done in a metallic thread:

Lushorn's panel is about generations of women, and is done in a family tree. Images of a baby, an infant, a young mother and an old woman are embroidered into the tree trunk. This was Lushorn's first experience free-motion threadpainting and quilting!

My panel is about nursing, one of the great joys of the early years of my motherhood. It shows a breast-feeding infant, and has the word “communion” threadpainted in the arch. I tried to replicate the sleepy, drunken, satiated look of the baby that I so loved seeing when nursing my two daughters. Nursing truly was a kind of communion for me, a holy connection between mother and child.

DeLane's panel deals with the issue of infertility. A woman stretches her arms up to heaven begging for a child, while a trail of beads connects her heart to her womb. DeLane also quilted some important words into her piece.

I am so proud of the work our group is doing! Each one of us is pushing ourselves to try new things, and getting better with each project.


  1. What a beautiful collaborative project - I love the subject matter. The piece really flows together.
    Jamie Fingal

  2. The work is so beautiful and touching. Being a mom myself, I could truly "feel" the issues you ladies were showing...very wonderful work. A question for you on the nursing panel...what did you use to higlight the word on there? I love the sheerness of it...very very nice touch! I saw your post on Quilt Qrt list :)

  3. I love this quilt! You guys have done a fabulous job, so rich with context and meaning and so very beautiful! The panels work really well together. Kudos!

    Kathy York
    Austin, TX

  4. Great work! A very meaningful piece.

  5. Carol, Here's how I did the lettering: I created the word on my computer and printed it out. Then I cut out each letter, positioned it, and traced around it using a water-soluable blue pen. Then I outlined each letter with white thread and sewed back and forth in a cross-hatch pattern. After I was all done, the word was not popping out quite as much as I had wanted, so I went back and added a little shadow under each letter using Dye-Na-Flow (which is the consistency of dye or ink). There is no ink or paint on the type itself.


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