Saturday, June 15, 2013


Do you remember liquid embroidery? That's what it was called anyway. Artex was a well known brand. It was pretty popular in the seventies. Maybe even earlier. 
My mother-in-law loved liquid embroidery. She had a big metal tin filled to the brim with every possible shade of paint. They looked like tiny toothpaste tubes. I think the colors were sometimes blended with an emery stick. The ballpoint tip made it easier to create fine detail than a paint brush in an inexperienced hand.
My husband's parents made quilts for each of their eight children. Clusters and bouquets and bunches of flowers were painted onto white fabric blocks which were sashed with white or green. I think they were filled with wool and then hand quilted in a giant frame. My in-laws worked together on this project. They always worked together. They cooked and cleaned and gardened together, their tasks intertwined. He cut the chicken into pieces and she fried it, he vacuumed and she wiped and washed. He punched the bread dough and she shaped the loaves. Their daily lives were filled with the comfort of routine. I was just in my very early twenties then, but I felt a wistful yearning when I observed them together. I still feel that way when I remember.

My sister unearthed a treasure on one of her thrift shop forays; a stack of twelve large quilt blocks. Each one has a different butterfly and cluster of flowers, all liquid embroidered by some artistic soul a few decades past.
My in-laws would have applauded.
They are so beautifully painted.
When my sister whipped them out of her suitcase for my admiration, I gasped.
I thought at first, that I would sash them up in green and quilt all over, but I realize now that they deserve something more. 
They deserve some attention to detail. 
Some appreciation of the original artists care. 
A collaboration.

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