Only 8 1/2 of Many Millions
This is the largest piece I have ever done, over 7 feet long, and it is the first that made me feel like an artist. The Studio Art Quilt Association announced a show calling for pieces with the theme of migration. I live near San Diego and hear almost daily of people crossing the border near me, coming from Mexico and Central America into the United States. It is not a simple issue. My first idea dealt with one incident here. Three buses of Mexican children immigrants were met by American adults screaming at them, and carrying signs telling them to go home. Their behavior angered me because no matter how one feels about immigrants, children should never bear the brunt of such cruel actions.
However, I didn't like my first sketches. I broadened my concept to all human migrations over time. The one common image that came to me for this was feet walking. As the piece developed, I subtly hid religious symbols—a cross and a Star of David— within fabric patterns, and gave the little boy a Muslim hat to wear, because religion can lead people to move, by choice or by force. The man on the left has photos of his daughters on his pants along with a menacing skull. Fear can drive people to migrate to seek safety for their children.
Creating this piece was a wonderful experience that pushed both my thought processes and technical skills.
I was honored when it was selected for the prestigious "Migration Stories" at The Textile Museum, George Washington University, Washington, DC, in 2016. It is now in "Art Quilts."
Click the link to see me speak about this piece. (Sorry for the background noise.) https://vimeo.com/167757421