Deliver Us From Evil

(American flag and cityscape), Click to view larger image.

This piece is raw-edge appliqué, satin stitched, beaded, hand embroidered. It is framed under glass. Approximately 22” by 36”

I sketched this during the evening of 9/11/01.

I wanted to convey a strong patriotic stance about what had occurred in New York City on that day, as well as personalizing the buildings of NYC. The World Trade Center, affectionately known as the Twin Towers, is identified as a gold “double cross”.

A bit of humor - After beading half of the city and becoming tired of beading, I wondered if perhaps the rest of the city could be seen as having a “black-out” because of my tiredness. But I persevered, and beaded all of the windows.

Flames of Hatred

(Pentagon shape in flames), Click to view larger image.

This piece is raw-edge appliqué, satin stitched, beaded, thread-painted. It is stretched on artist canvas. Approximately 38” by 40”

I did a rough sketch of this potential quilt on 9/12/01. On the previous morning, 9/11, news media was consumed by the tragedy in New York City, but began focusing on the other tragedies as well on the following day. I wanted to portray the building as it may have been seen by people close by. I was concerned that I was trying to make something beautiful out of this tragedy. The piece is beaded with hematite beads, crystal beads, and glass beads.

A bit of humor - I realized that I should have listened to my high school geometry teacher better. It was difficult to figure out how to sketch a perfect pentagon!

From the Darkness…Comes the Light


(black, gray, yellow, white, 3-D quilt), Click to view larger image.

This piece is mounted on a 24” by 48” covered canvas, 6” deep.

This was made for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I wanted to reflect the changes that occur over time after going through a traumatic event. This is a new style of quilting for me. For several years I have been doing what I call “pencil stitching”, using 1/4” wide fabric strips, but this was my first attempt at making a 3-dimensional quilt that has a sewn-in wire armature to maintain its shape.

A bit of humor -  I learned new swear words while working with a wire armature!

Losing Innocence

(Is It Taller Than a Maple Tree?), Click to view larger image.

This piece is raw-edge appliqué, pieced, stain-stitched, painted with letter stencils, beaded, and the trees are fused fabric “snippets”. It is framed under glass. Approximately 18” by 24”

On 9/15/01, I had a phone conversation with my daughter. I asked her how my 6-year old grandson was doing regarding this tragedy that he may have seen on TV. She had been shielding him from the news reports as best she could, but of course, 6-year olds talk among themselves. She said, “Mom, the only question he has asked is - ‘Is it (the rubble) taller than a maple tree?’” He was trying to put the tragedy into the perspective of a 6-year old.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

(brightly colored quilt in traditional style), Click to view larger image.

This piece is traditionally pieced with embellishments sewn on. It is a “soft” quilt (not framed or stretched on canvas). Approximately 42” by 42”.

Even though I lived in Iowa at the time and had never been to New York City, I volunteered to go to Ground Zero with the American Red Cross as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Before doing a de-briefing at a company that was across the street from the fallen towers, I was walking down the hallway and heard a woman of Guatemalan descent say to her colleague, “Don’t worry about the anthrax scare. Just be happy we’re still alive.” I HAD to incorporate that into a quilt! The optimism of this woman was such a wonderful thing to hear from someone who had watched the towers fall fright before her eyes. I wanted this quilt to be happy and speak to this woman who had the needs of others at the forefront.

Serendipity - For several years prior to 9/11, I had collected small pieces of Guatemalan memorabilia that I found primarily in souvenir shops in the United States. I had no idea what I was ever going to do with this shoebox full of these findings…until I met this woman in New York City. I knew immediately that this was a perfect time to use those colorful pieces. On this quilt I sewed on Guatemalan-inspired bookmarks, belts, and worry dolls. The story of the worry dolls is that a parent would give one to a child to put under their pillow while they slept. If they went to bed feeling worried about anything, these dolls would take the child’s worries away by morning. This quilt is not my type of quilting, but it seemed just right to honor this optimistic and caring Guatemalan woman.





(Bright red flower), Click to view larger image.

This piece is 34” by 58”, mounted on a 24” by 48” canvas.

I used an acronym for this quilt that was also made for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. (I have too many quilt ideas to limit my work to just one 20th anniversary quilt!) The acronym stands for “H.elping O.vercome P.owerful E.xperiences. Without hope, life is more difficult. It is essential to our emotional well-being. Sometimes, hope is all we have to hold on to. This piece is 3-dimensional (my fun, new-to-me technique). It is “pencil” pieced (1/4” fabric strips), traditional piecing, embellished with mirrors in center of flower. It is approximately 6” deep.

Vini Vidi…

(nine small, individual quilts connected by hard metal), Click to view larger image.

This piece uses traditional quilt designs, stain-stitched, raw-edge appliqué, and is a “soft” quilt (not framed or stretched on canvas). Approximately 36” by 42”

I sketched this quilt, along with my Guatemalan-inspired quilt, at night while I was in between assignments in NYC. I felt a strange and cruel dichotomy of where I came from, the heartland of America, and what I was seeing, the harsh and twisted remains of concrete and steel in New York City. My experience reminded me of the old saying, “I came, I saw, I conquered”. But I didn’t conquer. I wept instead at what I was seeing, hearing, what these people had experienced, etc. I wanted to combine the perceived softness of the heartland where I lived (the small, soft quilts) with the harshness of the concrete city where the tragedy occurred (the metal chains and rod).

A bit of humor - After I finished this piece, I thought perhaps it just looked like a bunch of potholders strung together. That was NOT my intent!

And the Beat Goes On

(Twin Towers shaded in background with a musical staff), Click to view larger image.

This piece is raw-edge appliqué, stain-stitched, beaded, framed under glass. Approximately 18” by 24”

On the 10th anniversary, I was asked to make an updated 9/11 quilt to be incorporated into a local exhibit of my previous 9/11 quilts. I researched which musicals were playing at the time of the 10th anniversary and incorporated the titles into the musical staff.



#1 Jackie 2021-11-05 05:11
Susan's calm demeanor, insight into perceptions of tragedy, canny ability to find a touch of beauty and, sometimes, humor combine to offer opportunities for hope, healing, and introspection. Thank you for sharing!

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