Shards 1: Willow

Shards 1: Willow © 2000 by Suzann Thompson (shown here with flaps open)
34″ x 34″
Knitting, quilting, crochet, appliqué, embellishment; many fibers, cotton backing, acetate binding, broken china, beads, buttons, polymer clay

When we lived in England, we found broken china pieces, or shards, in the park, in our back garden, and in a wooded area near our house. It’s such an adventure to find a pretty piece of china. It’s even more fun when you find a white shard, then when you turn it over, you discover it has a lovely pattern on the other side. As I held shards in my hands, I realized that someone bought this china, then used it, washed it, and eventually broke it. What is their story? I wondered.

Shards 1: Willow is the story of some willow pattern shards we found. I imagined an aunt who always served snacks when her nieces and nephews came over. She served them on her good willow china. They felt very grown up. The willow pattern plate in the wall hanging is divided into five bound flaps, which are buttoned down. If you unbutton the flaps and open them out, you ‘break’ apart the plate, to reveal the story behind it. When you button the flaps out, they show a conversation among the nieces and nephews, where they talk about how they enjoyed visiting their Aunt Dorothy. I call my quilts with flaps, peek-a-boo quilts. With the flaps buttoned out, you see a photo-transfer of a plate with cookies on it. “Cookies and hot lemonade-Only at Aunt Dorothy’s,” says the writing around the plate.

Dorothy is a real person, though she isn’t my aunt. Dorothy Schwartz is the mother of our childhood friend, Andy. I remember well sitting around the table with Andy and my brother, Eric, while Mrs. Schwartz served us hot lemonade. My daughter and I baked the cookies pictured on the wall hanging. After I photographed the cookies on the plate, we had to eat them all up. Such is the sacrifice that artists are often called upon to make.

Here is Shards 1 with the flaps shown open:

Shards 1: Willow is available for purchase. Please contact Suzann by email for a list of wall hanging prices.