I am pleased to announce that “Hope is the Thing” is featured in Studio Art Quilt Associate’s (SAQA’s) online exhibition called “Art of the Title,” curated by Kathie R. Kerler. The exhibition celebrates works with “a well-chosen title that lends a new or additional layer of meaning.” Please check out the exhibition by clicking here.
Here is my statement about the piece, and how it was named:
On the morning of January 26, 2011, I started painting "Hope is the Thing" and was working on it when I got the call from my father that my mother had died in her sleep. She had not been ill, and her death came suddenly, of cardiac arrest, at age 74. My mother and I were very close. She was a traditional quilter and was a bit puzzled by the whole art quilt thing, but she was very proud of what I had accomplished, and was my biggest fan and supporter. I was in shock, and paralyzed with grief. But I had a deadline – I was making it for "The Space Between" exhibition – and as a journalist, I always met my deadlines! And so I had to start painting and stitching again. Through the winter of 2011, I worked on this piece with her constantly in my thoughts, and it became a deeply meaningful and spiritual piece for me, imbued with joy, sadness, grief, and love. I credit it with helping me come out of my funk and get working again.
The name comes from an Emily Dickinson poem that was one of my mother's favorites:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
I chose the name because it expresses to me how hope can sustain us in the most desperate and challenging of times, how it comes unbidden and without asking for it, to force our chins up and our feet forward.