Monday, January 28, 2013

The Graveyard Quilt

The Quilt of the Graveyard.
Painting pets, places, and people is what I do...for the most part. Sometimes I do things completely different so as to keep my world a learning place. I have a real need to explore all kinds of creative endeavors from painting to building fairy houses with my granddaughter to making quilts and cooking.
The project I am sharing now is not about pets but about places and people--people from a long time ago, very much like many of us today and in some ways very different but with a shared insight.
The story that accompanies this project started with someone mentioning their love of quilts which was a passion we shared. This individual said the most unusual quilt she had seen was one with tiny coffins appliqued in the center. My interest was greatly peaked but soon forgotten. Weeks later I was thumbing through an old quilt book in the library and when I laid the book down the pages fell open to the Graveyard Quilt--with tiny coffins appliqued in the center.Under the photo was the name of the museum where the quilt was located. It was the Kentucky Historical Society where I had spend hours in my college years.
I called the museum asking about the Graveyard Quilt which was unfortunately not on exhibit due to poor condition. The wonderful ladies at the museum offered to send me a book about the quilt written by Linda Otto Lipsett.When I received the book I was mesmerized. I read it from cover to cover. The author subtitled the book An American Pioneer Saga and it truly was a journey. After reading the story I decided to make as close a copy of the quilt as I could. It took about 4 months to complete using reproduction 19th century fabric, dyeing the muslin pieces for the backing(because fabric was very narrow in the early American years) with walnuts and hand quilting the entire quilt. I have won quilt awards and told the story about Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell many, many times. A few people have found the story unpleasant and disturbing, however many more have found compassion and empathy and even personal insight from the true story of one woman's efforts to deal with a personal tragedy.
This pioneer family of Shadrach and Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell lived in Pennsylvania in the 1800s. They had eleven children as they emigrated from east to west. Two of Elizabeth's sons died along the way. She fashioned a quilt top with eleven squares across the top representing her eleven children. In the center she pieced a graveyard with places for tiny coffins quilted within an appliqued cemetery.The cemetery had fencing resplendent with embroidered roses and vines. As a memorial to the two lost children she sewed small brown coffins.The rest of the family was represented with coffins along the border. The plan was for the coffins to be moved to the cemetery as the family member departed this world. While this quilt was an expression of a heartbroken mother it also served as a birth and death record for the family.
Mourning customs have changed drastically over the years and in today's world we seem to pay less and less attention to the physical nature of deceased loved ones. People move from place to place and look toward the future more than cherishing the past. But for those out there that enjoy a good tale this story about Elizabeth Mitchell's struggle to remember her dear children and how she used her creativity and resources while carving out an American saga is one worth knowing. You can find more about the quilt and other objects at
Feel free to comment or ask questions about the quilt-I love to hear from you.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

FOLK Magazine Artist Advertisment

Here is my new ad in FOLK magazine. It will appear in issue #9 coming out very soon.

Hollis Taylor, portrait Artist ad that will be published in the upcoming issue of FOLK Magazine. Check us out! It's a great magazine with the majority of their ad revenue coming from artists and crafters.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ShortStop Shorty

This charming little corgi was a good candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.She wasn't interested in performance enhancing drugs, money, or well--Fame.
All she was interested in was one clear crack of the baseball bat. As it happened she lived up the street from the city park where very early on summer mornings the local girl's softball team met to practice. Cordelia (Shorty for short, but I don't know why) would listen carefully and when she heard the first ring of a bat hitting a ball she would run down the street in her funny corgi way, where all of her legs were off the ground at the same time, and stop at the fence--waiting. When a batter would hit a ball through the infield--off she would fly, around the fence, retrieve the ball, and bring it to the closest ballplayer. Shorty could play all day but when practice was over she would sit with the girls enjoying lots of pats and ear scratches and sharing drinks of cool water. Shorty would look from face to sweaty face of those girls in red and love her place in their lives. Those girls are graduating school this year but the younger ones are anxious to see Shorty next summer. Oh! maybe she got her nickname from her shortstop abilities! May-be

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

HyVee Shopper

There was nothing small about Jag--other than the fact he was the size of a small bus. He was so loveable that he was considered by all who knew him to be the Noble Prize Winner of love and affection. He had a cat friend who loved to take naps on his broad shoulders in the depths of winter. Many people loved to warm their feet under his rug like side and warm pink underbelly. He had the run of the neighborhood and everyone felt part ownership in his outgoing nature. When he was feeling lonely (which was not very often surely) he would wander down the hillside to the HyVee store, make his way through the automatic doors and complete his rounds of the friendly and as yet unfriended individuals inside the store. After most of the adults and all of the children had a few pets the manager would call his human home and someone would come fetch him. Everyone glad they got to see the unusual occurrance in the local grocery store felt all the better for having seen him. Even the health inspector would have loved Jag--no one could help loving Jag.
No one gets to see Jag at HyVee anymore--how sad for everyone.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cutest Dogs Ever

A Christmas Package
Is there anything more fun than a couple of Maltese needing their portraits painted for Christmas--red bows and all?
These two rescue dogs are a barrel of fun despite the past abuses. They live with their human parents and their sisters/personality counterparts in Columbia Missouri.
Painting white dogs is a bit of a challenge however with their personalities the paper was filled with love and a certain gleam in the eye.

I have included an in-progress photo just for fun.