Old brightly painted shoes and sneakers stuck on sticks, grew in L.V.’s front yard like flowers. The small walkway to the front door was tight with colorfully painted found objects.
The things other people threw away, L.V. made into art.
It was 2001 and my ex-husband and I were taking a trip cross-country. The woman at the visitors center in Kosciusko, Mississippi told us about the artist L.V. Hull.
L.V. stood in the doorway to her house inviting us in as we got out of the car. I stared in awed wonder at her front yard.
She led us into the two front rooms of her house, the kitchen and living room. They were bursting with color, L.V.’s art was everywhere.
Buttons and doll eyes, broken pieces of plastic, jewelry and dishes were glued onto old toys, computers, pots and pans and pieces of wood that she had painted. Even the cups in the dish drain were painted. I can still picture the colors and textures, though the details are obscured.
L.V. said that she started painting after her daughter died and never stopped.
We bought a few pieces of her art (which I got in the divorce) including a painted clothespin. I don’t remember how we decided to buy the Hope Cross, but it was just a month or so after 9/11 so I imagine that had something to do with it.
It wasn’t until yesterday when I got back into my studio after our trip to Vermont, that I made the connection between L.V.’s Hope Cross and my Hope Quilt.
Of course, I am influenced, even if I’m not aware of it, by the art I live with. I can clearly see that influence in the shape I chose to configure Emily’s painted pieces of fabric. But also in the lettering, the colors, the aesthetic and the single word “hope”.
Like L.V.’s garden of shoes, my Hope Quilt is a patchwork garden of its own.
When Emily gave me the painted pieces of fabric last spring, I couldn’t get myself to use them. I wasn’t feeling the hopefulness they are embued with. But in the past weeks, almost a year later, I felt something begin to change.
When I started working on my Hope Quilt it helped me to understand just how hopeful I was feeling.
Yesterday New York opened its Covid Vaccines up to people over 50. Tomorrow I’ll get my first vaccination at the Walgreens in town.
This morning when I got into my studio, I knew I had to finish sewing the last of the blue edge on my Hope Quilt.
I don’t like the feeling of hope lingering, unrequited that the unfinished quilt gave me. As if I had given up on it when really it’s just the opposite.
I’ll continue working on the quilt this week along with my Robin On The Haystack Potholders.
My studio door is open. It’s warmer outside than inside. I am surrounded by hope.