Nearly 3 years ago my friend Jessica Kraf died at the age of 27 from Ewing's Sarcoma. From the time she was diagnosed with stage IV to the time she died was less than 11 months. During her treatment I made her a Prayer Quilt from fabrics sent to me by her friends and family. After her death I was filled with pain and anger and made the Fuck Cancer quilt. For a long time the only way I could think of her was how she looked when she died, the embodiment of the ravages of cancer: intense pain, hairless, gaunt, scared and confused. This quilt is my way of replacing those images with how she was during our 13 years of friendship: strong, passionate, vibrant, beautiful and full of life.
Many years ago she posted this lovely photo to her facbook account:
|Photo credit: Morgan Estill|
I was immediately struck with how similar the pose, lighting and feel were to Leonardo Da Vinci's La Scapigliata:
The photo stayed with me, and I decided I needed to turn it into a quilt. I wasn't sure how though, and started looking into different methods of turning a photo into a quilt. The mini Starry Night thread painting I made earlier this year was actually an experiment to play with the method before attempting this portrait.
|Photo printed on fabric, ready to quilt!|
I had this photo printed (with permission) on Kona cotton at FotosOnFabric.com, it currently measures just under 12" x 15".
|Aurifil threads selected for this thread painting.|
Aurifil has generously sponsored the threads for this quilt, I am honored at their trust in me. I'm also excited about this because my sewing machine loves Aurifil threads, and I love the way they shine on my quilts! Here is approximately where the colors will be used (the large spool is primarily for the bobbin):
|Aurifil threads selected for thread painting.|
For the series of blog posts about this quilt I'd like to include something new: How I'm Feeling. I am filled with emotion every time I think of Jessica, of her friendship, and especially of the last 11 months of her life. This quilt is my way of honoring those memories, and spending time with her again. I miss her more than I'd like to try and express.
How I'm Feeling
I think of Jessica almost daily still, but I've been missing her a lot lately. Probably because I received the fabric print a couple of weeks ago and it has been staring at me from my design wall. There is a song that has been playing on one of my Pandora stations that I wish I could send to her, for some reason I think she would have liked it a lot: Stitches by Shawn Mendes. She thought I'd like the song Fireflies by Owl City, but I thought it was just catchy and annoying. I didn't tell her that. But this a capella version has been playing on one of my Pandora stations, and I quite enjoy it and it reminds me of her.
Putting the threads with the photo made me feel so nervous, excited and anxious! I've been planning this quilt for over a year, and it is all finally coming together!
"Do not give from the depths of your own well; give only from its overflow."
In Memory of Jessica thread painting series:
1. Thread and fabric (you are here)