Created by Artist and Mother – Alexa Vickery
W120cms x H142cms
The simplicity of this quilt has affected many people who have visited the exhibition. The words can be read from far away and attracts people. On closer inspection you feel the emotional pull of the threadbare children’s bed cotton sheet.
– ALEXA’s Words –
My grandmother died in 2020 in a care home many many miles away. I couldn’t hold her, I couldn’t say goodbye and I couldn’t hug my aunt who was grieving alone for the loss of her mother. The phrase I CAN’T HOLD YOU kept repeating in my head over the weeks but seemed to cover so many other situations of separation caused by COVID, the parents of babies in neonatal units being barred from seeing their children, the women forced to deal with miscarriages without their partners. It became a silent cry of despair to all the loved ones we could not comfort.
Traditionally a quilt is a symbol of comfort- of wanting to wrap, envelop and hold. This quilt is inspired by a 19th century Pennsylvanian alphabet quilt. I found reference for constructing the individual letters in a 1920’s pattern book. It was only after I had stitched my quilt I realised the colours of the original 1890s one echoed the generic red and white colour scheme associated with medicine. It is pieced from old bed sheets complete with their threadbare patches and aged colour stains from years of use. The stars used for the corner blocks represent the COVID virus.