Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Blue (For Gene), Part 1

My Grandpa Gene was my favorite. Just as parents aren’t supposed to have favorite children, I suppose children shouldn’t have favorite grandparents. But I did.

I loved all my grandparents. I still do, very much, but Grandpa Gene is the one who I remember with the most clarity, the memories vibrant and vivid and bright.

Gene was a big man, with large hands and feet, and a gruff demeanor; a gentle giant with his tiny wife and daughter, and his two tinier grandchildren. He made large pots of chili, loved to fish and hunt and watch football. He smoked Parliaments and read dirty joke books in the bathroom off the kitchen. He managed a cold storage in our town, he served as a fireman and an alderman. He gave me a Jolly Green Giant doll he received from the Green Giant people.

I wish I still had that doll. It smelled like him.

This big man would allow my brother and I to climb in his lap. We would lay across the arms of the armchair in the den, and he would rub our backs with one large hand. No masseuse can compete with those back rubs.

When I was ten, he died. He had just turned seventy.

Grandpa Gene was one of six relatives we lost over the course of a year and a half. My Grandma Clark was another (see her quilt here). His was the first funeral I attended. The monsignor told funny stories in the eulogy.  I sat with my parents and my Nonie in the front pew on the right side of the aisle in St. Patrick’s Church, awash in tears, baffled and offended that anyone could find anything funny about the loss of Grandpa Gene.

It has been almost forty years since Grandpa Gene left us and there is still nothing funny about this loss. I wept then. I weep today.

His color was blue. That seems fitting. My tears are blue too.

Any Color - Gene - Fabric
Fabric choices
Any Color - Gene - Canvas
The canvas
Any Color - Gene - Canvas 3
A vast sea of blue
Any Color - Gene - Fishes
Fishes swimming in the vast sea

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Is there someone you’ve lost for whom you still grieve, even though it’s been decades?

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska), Part 2 (Finished!)

June was a crazy month.  I had to travel for work three out of the four weeks, two days each week, which should have thrown off my whole schedule.  And, to a degree, it did.  But it also motivated me to work harder and longer in the available time I did have at home in my studio.  As a result, I not only started Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska) in June, I FINISHED it in the same month!  It’s the small things, people.  Those little accomplishments that make all the difference between continuing and giving up.  Celebrate all the tiny victories.

I love the colors in this art quilt.  Of course, my love of purple comes naturally.  I dug through my jewelry box for the embellishments.  Grandma Neska loved brooches; I was surprised to find I had a few that would have suited her.  Please let me know what you think.

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Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska) ~ link to poem

Any Color - Neska - Finished
Look at all that purple!! A royal art quilt. 🙂
Any Color - Neska - Detail 01
Lots of hearts for lots of love
Any Color - Neska - Detail 02
And lots of kisses
Any Color - Neska - Detail 03
Found this sparkly heart in the bottom draw of my jewelry box. Art deserves to glitter.
Any Color - Neska - Photo
My paternal grandma, Neska.  Note the brooch on her dress.
Any Color - Neska - Poem
Poetry label
The next in the series: Blue (for Gene) is in the early stages.  This one may be tough — he was my favorite.  Stay tuned.
How do you motivate yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

 

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska), Part 1

I’ve mentioned in previous posts for this series that, while working on Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red, in honor of my Grandpa Clark, I realized Red (for Basil) was the first in a series for my grandparents.

I’ve finished two in the series. The second, for my maternal grandmother, Lucille, was Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green.

This third honors my paternal grandmother, Neska, who loved purple. She wore it in dresses and hats, brooches and shoes. I believe she would have had purple carpets, drapes, and even walls if my Grandpa had been willing.

Neska passed away when I was 10 or 11, during a time when our family lost several loved ones. I wish my memories were stronger, but those I do have are of a woman who loved her children and grandchildren. She called each of us Pet and gave the best Grandma kisses. My grandfather adored her, this woman who worked as a nurse before they married in the ‘20s. She was strong and sweet and loving.

While working on this piece of art for her, I realized the memory, of how much she loved us all, is the only one I really need.

Any Color - Neska - Fabric
The palette
Any Color - Neska - Canvas
The canvas
Any Color - Neska - Top
The top…the hearts, kisses, and other items have been fused and the quilt sandwich made

Quilting is underway. Check back in a week or two to see how Purple turns out.

Do you agree love is the best memory?

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green (for Lucille), Part 2 (Finished!)

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I found a great block of time to finish Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green (for Lucille). Pieced, fused, minimally quilted for subtle texture, and embellished with vintage clip on earrings and Nonie’s photo, this reminds me of the green carpets in her home.

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Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green (for Lucille) ~ link to poem

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Any Color - Lucille - Finished 01

Any Color - Lucille - Finished 03

Any Color - Lucille - Airstream

Any Color - Lucille - Poem

Any Color - Lucille - Photo

Her birthday was May 23rd. I finished this on May 25th. Happy birthday, Nonie.

The next in the series: Purple (for Neska) is underway. Post to follow soon.

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green (for Lucille)

While I was working on “Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red” in honor of my Grandpa Clark, I realized Red was the first in a series for my grandparents.  After a little digging through my parent’s and my own memory banks, favorite colors were recalled so the work could begin.

My maternal grandmother, Lucille, loved green.  The carpets in the three houses I remember her living in were always some shade of her favorite color.  She was an independent, strong, and stubborn woman — I’ve inherited all of that from her and couldn’t be more pleased.  My brother and I were her only grandchildren, so she doted on us, taking us camping in her Airstream trailer to Paraiso Hot Springs.  The scent of eucalyptus reminds me of those trips.

I remember her letting herself into our house, a dozen Winchell’s donuts in hand.  “I can’t stay; I brought these for the kids,” she’d say as she dropped the box on the kitchen counter, one heel already turned to dart back out the door to run her errands or attend Altar Society meetings or visit with friends.

She also loved music.  Or more correctly, loved musical instruments.  She owned a baby grand piano, an organ, a violin, an accordion, a flute, and probably a couple more.  I faintly recall a guitar.  Probably not a Les Paul, though.

Lucille passed away when I was 25.  She was the last remaining grandparent and the one most active in our lives.  I hope she can see the field of green I’m creating for her.

Green - Canvas
A field of green
Green - Top 01
I can see her playing the piano…

Come back in a couple of weeks to see how the quilting is coming along.

Tell me about your longest living grandparent.

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