O Mom! ŠTafi Brown 1998.

Tafi Brown


42"h x 41.5"w.

Machine pieced, appliqued, quilted. Cut outs, ribbon hand appliqued and sewn. Cyanotype photographs. Hand dyed and commercial fabrics. All cotton.
"OMMOMM" (add as many O's and M's as you like: it's a toning title!) is necessarily a loaded quilt. But before I get into that aspect of the piece, a simple description. OMOM has a central medallion. In that medallion is "Mom's Kitchen" and the apple pie from The DishTowel, which transformed into a cyanotype print that was then double-stitch appliqued on top of a sandwich of four cyanotype hand photograms and commercial and hand dyed fabrics.

I cut out part of the applique in places. This was then framed with other cyanotypes of the "1998", and parts of the cyanotyped border trim from the DishTowel. Further applique on the small central medallion was done with ribbon, mostly over the 1998 borders. The cutout areas of the central medallion soften the rigid geometry of the cyanotyped apple pie, contributing to the ambiguity of space in the central medallion and giving a hint of disintegration and transformation-- the shimmering, sometimes ethereal presence of being.

Cyanotype photograms of hands, apparently dog paddling through a sea of blue either reach for, hold, grasp or wave by time, the months of the year from The DishTowel. Repeated use of the DishTowel border and appliqued ribbon forms a four part division between the hands. Semi transparent cyanotyped quotations, hanging loosely, in prayer cloth fashion, cover each hand print and month. Mother of pearl buttons repeat the stark blue and white of the cyanotype print as well as being functional. They allow the viewer the flexibility of removing cyanotype quotes from or adding cyanotype quotes to the quilt, further varying the surface texture of the piece. Hand dyed fabric in a split complementary color scheme and colored rayon machine stitching finish the quilt surface.

Timing drove this quilt. The opportunity to participate in The Dishtowel Quilt Project came to me at the same time I was embarking on what turned out to be almost a year of escorted visits with my mother to doctors in rder to facilitate making a sad situation as palliative for her as was within my power. My mother has frontal lobe dementia. Lots of processing is in this quilt: processing of the past, processing of feelings, processing of concepts and processing of actual materials. Memories and shared experiences are in this quilt.

As close as I ever came to doing anything artistically creative WITH my mother (and she was an artist too) was a few years ago when I spent a hectic day making cyanotype photograms of my own hands. Mother hung out with me and made prints too. At the end of last year I remembered I had this collection of hand photograms which, when I looked at them again, actually gave the appearance of agitation or at least emotion of some kind. (Lord knows there has been no lack of stuffed and unstuffed emotion of one kind or another over the past years!!!)

Voila`! Twelve hands; twelve months on "Mom's Kitchen". Of course, each hand would hold a month. And then, over that month would hang a thinly veiled "mother quote"; prayer-like. As I sat with Mom and talked about her childhood photographs with her (to help me understand the affliction she has, to "ground" our visits with one another), I copied, verbatim, many of our "conversations", or what, at least, she was telling me. These are the "mother quotes": prayer-cloth cyanotype photograms on gauze, buttoned over each month; removeable and changeable by any who will. "OMOMMOMM" is my symbol of life-transforming.

©1998 Tafi Brown. PO Box 319, Alstead, NH. 03602. 603-756-3402. tafi@sover.net


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