Monday, November 30, 2009

The Story of my Folk Art Quilt

July, 2008 our friend Bob Schuelke was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Bob and his wife Jana had retired to SC after having lived and worked many years in Canada. They spent the Summer in Canada and the Winter in SC. Before the move they had decided that if either of them became seriously ill they would move back to Canada.

They sold their house without having to put it on the market and moved to their condo in Canada. (Just a little note about socialized medicine.) Bob received immediate and wonderful health care during the year of his illness. So much for the naysayers of National Health Care. However, the cancer had spread and he passed away this past July.

I knew I wanted to make something for Jana but really didn't know what. During my visit to my friend Mary Lou Weidman's blog I saw a pillow she had painted for a friend who had lost her husband. The image on the pillow was a guardian angel. Although I had never painted a whole piece on fabric before I decided that I would like to do something like this for my friend Jana.

I started out with the idea to made a male guardian angel pillow about 12 or 14 inches square. My pillow morphed into a 23" wall hanging. As I was searching images, including coloring books, for a folk art looking male, I saw an image of a dog. Light bulbs went off. Jana and Bob had a much loved Shelton Sheep dog named Skeeter. Soon after they moved back to Canada, they had to have Skeeter put to sleep. The light bulb told me I had to put Skeeter in the design as well.

I couldn't find and image that I felt would work so I asked my husband if he would pose for me. Bob always sat in the same chair in his home and that is the way I remember him. I sketched my husband's body but used Bob's features to do his face. I then sketched Skeeter and added him to the design.

There are items in the drawing that pertain to Bob, his heart of gold, his book about economics, the boarder fabric relating to his love of the Southwest. Many of the quotes I chose had meaning, in my mind anyway, as to the love I felt was shared between Jana and Bob and Skeeter.

Jana is visiting SC to help hang a fiber art show by the Thread Heads at the Duke Power facility here in Seneca. I had her and friends Harry and Judy Rapelje over for dinner last night and gave the wall hanging to her. It was very emotional for all of us. I hope that this wall hanging will bring Jana joy, it did me while in the making.


  1. What a wonderful gift and you did a great job thinking of all the things that would make it special.

  2. lovely job...i know she will just treasure it!

  3. That is such a moving tribute. I hope it comforts her. So touching. The story was very interesting.

  4. I absolutely love this quilt. I believe it is a sweet, sweet gift filled with personal symbols. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Such a wonderful tribute to the life of a much beloved man. I know your friend will treasure it beyond measure.

  6. Marilyn, I LOVE your quilt for Bob. I think these angel quilts for people who need them is such a great idea. My daughter's best friend from high school just died of cancer(age 31-left 2 kids)) and I am working on one for her Mother.
    This is says so much and yours is truly wonderful. I know he must cherish it.