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Writer,Quilt maker,Folkartist, from Freestone County, Tx.


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Sometimes in life we come across words in the English language that we've never encountered before and definitely don't have any inkling what they mean.  In fact the definition of the word can powerfully alter the way we think about our family ,ourselves and the world surrounding us .  A proper definition captures the essence of what is being described so well, that one will never ever forget or lose its meaning, no matter how hard one tries.  

 That recently happened to me.  "BOOM"... there it was the word "VERVE".   Sixty-three years... for the life of me, I cannot ever recall having heard it at least one time.  I found myself pondering what in the world did this word mean and why would anyone use it in connection with quilted textiles.  I was compelled to look it up, to find out what it meant and I must say I'm so glad I did.  This word powerfully captures the essence of  M-provisational quilt making.   The definition once uncovered, totally and completely,  "BLEW" my mind and now I know that I will never forget it ever.   It's like the "SONG THAT NEVER ENDS"...it goes on and on my friend....It keeps playing a constant melody that is next to impossible to shake off .

This one word and its definition adeptly describes the pure essence of M-PROVISATIONAL quilt making.
According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary "VERVE" ....is the animated spirit of energy, enthusiasm, and vitality in ARTISTIC COMPOSITIONS and/or PERFORMANCES.

M-provisational Quilts incorporate everything stated in this sentence.  They are indeed truly artistic compositions, but they are also performances of needle, thread, cloth and the quilt makers' animated spirit, energy and enthusiasm channeled ,stitch by stitch, as they link and tie all pieces and parts together.

My word....What a Word!!!  I love not only the way it looks and is spelled...but also the sound of it as it escapes the lips of the speaker.  I must say I am totally captivated by this ,new to me ,word of the English language and I am blown away by its definition.  Is it really possible to fall in love with a word?  I hope I'm not the only one in this enjoyable predicament.

Social Media can be used for good or for bad, but I would have to admit that for me in this particular instance it was simply an eye opening and fascinating revelatory experience.  I'm quite used to seeing many and varied photos and topics on all types of subject matter pass thru my home feed page on face book, but a few months ago an ad for the opening of a UCDavis quilt exhibit,  popped into my face book feed.  It announced  that Sandra McPherson , a renowned poet, had donated several vintage African American quilts to the new museum opening for an upcoming exhibit on the UCDavis campus.  I admired some of the quilts used in the ad.  I clicked ' like'...because I thought they were quite interesting and exciting.  Ms. McPherson had previously used these quilts to inspire her to write poetry.  I thought that was a really great idea and a neat way to create inspiration for oneself.  Brava for Ms. McPherson!

But aside from this advertisement...this story began to take  a unique personal surprise turn... in an unexpected and different direction.

  I am on the list of a face book group named VINTAGE QUILTS.  About that time I checked in with the group...as I occasionally , drop in to view the wonderful old vintage quilts that are posted regularly and also read what members are saying about them. (If you love and want to really understand and appreciate vintage quilts this is one of the best groups to join.  There's always something new and exciting being posted in the way of vintage quilts.) At this particular visit there was this gorgeous M-provisational African American Quilt posted, that incorporated lovely purple cloth in it.  I was drawn to it, because it seemed so familiar and like an old friend.   It was as if I had seen it before...but couldn't quite wrap my mind around where I had viewed it.  I clicked "like" and went on about my business of posting other "KOOL" stuff to face book.

Very soon I got an email from an acquaintance who loves,collects and publishes books on vintage m-provisational quilts...Roderick Kiracofe.  He included a photo of the quilt I had just seen on face book and he stated that this was a photo of my quilt that was to be included in the Sandra McPherson Collection of quilts donated to UCDavis museum. He mentioned that it would soon be featured in their upcoming exhibit..." The Verve of Quilted Textiles", the same one I saw the advertisement on.

Photo used with permission of Roderick Kiracofe.

 EUREKA!!! No wonder that quilt felt so familiar to me!  It was one of my very own creations!  This was my first time  seeing it in more than 25 years and as a completed quilt.  I had sold it to Eli Leon in the late 1980s as a quilt top. He had it hand quilted by another quilt maker in the San Francisco Bay Area. Then  it was apparently sold to Ms. Sandra McPherson. (Eli is the owner of a large and uniquely amazing collection of m-provisational quilts, many of which were created by myself and other members of my immediate family.)  What an exciting journey my quilt has  experienced over the years.

And speaking of experiences....seeing all of this unfold before my very own eyes..... I had now come to a second revelation.  Up until the moment that I received the email from Roderick, I had never thought of... or even entertained the idea that some of my own quilts were now considered to be vintage.   But apparently they are.  Therefore when encountering this strangely familiar quilt in the vintage group discussion on face book..... it never really registered or dawned on me ... that the quilt being discussed was one I had personally created.  So it has now been a bit of a mental challenge with slight adjustments.... to register in my thought process that some vintage quilts...are indeed my very own quilts and not just someone elses'.

"Time does fly"... and I am a true witness to this old saying.

I now wish to share with you photos from "The Verve of Quilted Textiles" curated by Ms.Adele Zhang, of the UCDavis Design Museum.

 These photos unveil a gorgeous panorama of tantalizing, artistic arrangements of cloth compositions...one of which is my very own.  They are truly quilted textiles that have "VERVE".

  Thank you, Ms. Zhang  and UCDavis Design Museum for this invigorating , inspirational, and mind jogging exhibit which is so animated and full of energy, enthusiasm, and vitality!!!!

Sherry Ann


The photos below are used with the courtesy of Adele Zhang, (curator) and UCDavis Design Museum. Photographs by Barbara Molloy.

The End

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