(Note: Click on an image for a larger view)
I come from a big family with lots and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins as far as the eye can see. When we were young, there was little room to move around at family gatherings and privacy was a foreign concept. Family was the center of everything for us as we grew up so it should come as no surprise that my primary source of creative inspiration is my family. I always do my best work for them. They get the cream of the crop. I would have it no other way.
When my children were very young, I remembered moments of my own childhood and the details that made them special. All over my house there are items that evoke special memories of my life and the people in it. I knew I wanted to give my children something tangible that they could carry with them, hold onto and tell stories about. Two of the greatest gifts my mother gave me were to teach me to sew and crochet. It has given me untold joy in the hours I have labored and in the items I have made. Although my mother never quilted herself, with the foundation she gave me, I taught myself and used this skill to create heirlooms for my children.
I had once seen a picture of a quilt created of denim squares and decided that I wanted to create one someday, but it had to be special since it would be for one of my children. While my son was still in grade school, I began saving all the old jeans he had outgrown or worn out. I saved about 10 years worth of jeans with rips, tears, patches and history. Then one day in late 2006 I sat down, cut out the squares and started on my first quilt. You would think 10 years worth of jeans would be enough for a small quilt but it wasn't, and I ended up using denim from old jeans worn by everyone in the household. It turned out beautifully as you can see in the photo above left. Every patch has a story to tell about the person who wore it and my son, who absolutely loves it, guards it jealously.
Of course, I couldn't make a quilt for my son and not have something as special for my daughter so I immediately had to make one for her as well but I didn't have 10 years worth of jeans to work with. For her, my budding marine biologist, I created a quilt in the blue and turquoise colors of the Caribbean Sea. It is not only a symbol of her childhood dream, it is also a reminder of Puerto Rico, my ancestral homeland nestled in the Caribbean. This quilt, which my daughter promptly called her toasty, also gave us an opportunity to bond when I hand-crocheted the edging. Every Sunday night the two of us would sit in my bed watching our favorite television shows while I trimmed the toasty. The time she and I and that quilt spent together will not soon be forgotten.
My family inspires me. The gifts I make for them are a lasting expression of my love. It is art from my heart.
Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva