I always feel a special kinship to the memorial quilts I make that honor other artists. Creating Michael’s Tune was no exception. Michael was an incredibly talented musician, painter, and oh, by the way, a dedicated hospice physician. When his son, Jeremy, gave me a small collection of his neckties to make into a memorial quilt, he also shared a beautifully written eulogy in the form of a list, entitled, Things to know about my Dad. From Jeremy’s list, I learned that Michael was a jazz bass player who could have played professionally, but decided to practice medicine instead. Over his career, he helped thousands of terminally ill people die peacefully and comfortably in hospice. He loved to draw and write poetry, and he had a great sense of humor.
As I began to think about the design for Jeremy’s quilt, there was no question that music and movement would be a source of inspiration. From everything Jeremy shared about his dad, it was clear the guy never sat still. Even his ties contained a sense of movement and energy.
Because I wanted to get the most useable fabric out of the tie materials, it meant the pieces needed to be long and narrow, which immediately made me think of them as musical notes.
I like to use gradations of light to dark to create visual movement, and so I began building Michael’s tune.
With so many pieces to keep in the right order during construction, I get hyper-focused on how I set up the sequence of sewing. Sometimes it results in these fleeting little, in-process sculptures.
I back all of the ties I use with a stabilizer – sometimes the reverse side of the piecing is as interesting as the front.
I could have made a hundred little mini-quilts out of this whole quilt – the patterns and colors were so vibrant and complex.
I chose a solid, light weight wool crepe for the border so it wouldn’t compete with the center piecing.
Here is the final quilt, entitled, Michael’s Tune.
And some details.
My only regret is that I never had the chance to meet this amazingly talented and generous man.