Saturday, May 11, 2013

Goodbye to a Friend

Today is my friend's birthday, alas, a birthday she did not live to celebrate. Instead, last weekend family and friends gathered at the art gallery that displayed her work to celebrate her life, although there was much more grieving than actual celebrating. Stunned silence would well describe our reaction upon seeing her textile art displayed in the foyer. Since I visited so seldom, mostly saw her work in pictures, I always forget just how striking and intricate her more recent work is; seeing it en masse stopped me in my tracks. Above is just a few of them - click on picture for larger view.

The formal service was held in the small auditorium and included a slideshow of her earliest years right up to the most recent. I've known her for about 17 years and had never seen pictures of her so young, almost unrecognizable. The potluck following was held in a sideroom used for classes and her larger quilts were hung there. Yes, I got enlisted to help along with a couple of mutual friends. This star quilt has an amazing intricate border that doesn't show in this picture, and was made for her mother. I knew I had a lone star quilt in me and wondered why she'd gotten no farther than the center star before tossing it aside for other things. I really did goad her to get back to it, laid on the guilt the best I could while dragging my feet on my own lone star. That was the nature of our friendship, always pushing each other.

Finally the top was done, ready for quilting. A lot was done by machine but she wanted to add interlocking Celtic designs as well. Judi was not a hand quilter at heart like me, but knew it was the only way. Stab stitching with crochet thread, she persevered until it was done. And of course, beat me by a country mile.

Here Sherrie Spangler and I stand in front of another of Judi's early bed quilts of original design - that girl did love her star blocks. When I started paying attention to the art quilt movement, I knew of Sherrie, but it was Judi that brought us together. To her delight, we have become good friends and gave each other more than a little mutual support during this difficult weekend. She's actually responsible for most of the pictures in this post and did her share of standing on a chair and stretching to hang these big quilts.

Then it was time to hang the African quilt. No way really to hang the 4 parts together as they will appear in final form so instead, each was showcased on these soundboards on two sides of the room.  Rhonda, who is doing the machine quilting on this, fearlessly mounted the stepladder while I stood on the counter handing her tape and pins.

Yes, it was a looonnnngggg stretch! Rhonda was happy for Judi's sister-in-law Rae's stabilizing of the ladder.

This gathering did give me the chance to connect again with some important people in Judi's life. This is her mother-in-law Joyce who did her own longer than anticipated stint as caregiver, flying out from her home in Wisconsin to help in Hood River when Judi took a turn for the worst. Joyce was there when I last visited Judi in Hood River, and that is when I got to know her a bit. We found we had a lot in common, and not just related to the caregiving.

So jolly jolly we all look for the camera, but don't let that fool you. Plenty of tears were shed that day. But what can you do but make the best of it? This is Judi's husband Curt, who I have always liked and respected. I so wanted to be sure I got a picture with him, dragging him over in front of yet another of Judi's quilts made from our hand-dyes as a sample for our booth when vending. Come on Curt, pretend that we like each other. Yes, that got a laugh.

Enjoy a few more examples of Judi Kane's Textile Art.




Mary Stori said...

Your wonderful tribute has left me misty eyed. I feel so fortunate to have called her a friend, and that goes for you too!!!

Sherrie Spangler said...

Beautifully done, Sheila. I still haven't been able emotionally to do my post, but I will soon.

Felicity Grace said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, Sheila. Such a lovely tribute to a dear friend, she was obviously a very special and talented lady.