My Pop Art Series

This is part of the Living Atlanta street art series that was done by local artists in 2011, but I have only recently discovered this piece, very close to my office at 34 Peachtree Street. I absolutely love it. So I played with it in Lightroom to my heart's content, and this is the result. I can't have enough versions of this picture, it seems.

Visiting the AIDS Memorial Quilt

The squares are bigger than you could even imagine. They command the room, the space. What a powerful source of memory, of honoring those who we have lost to AIDS.

As I have written about a few times already , I have been exploring the many squares on the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and have been remembering especially two men who were important to my Mom, to our community, and to my perception and experience with the death tolls from AIDS. Almost as soon as I learned, via their website, that the Quilt is stored and the foundation headquartered here in Atlanta, I called, left a message, and asked to visit--especially to see the two squares I had been pouring over, Craig's and Parnell's.

Richie, a veteran of the NAMES Project Foundation, called me back after the MLK holiday weekend, and I planned a visit for today. This morning I spent some time crying, touching the quilt, reading the many lovely words, poems, thoughts contributed to each of their squares, and learned more about these two men via the wonderful memorial that this Quilt provides. It provides a way to remember, in a very communal and large-scale way, yet allowing for quite private and personal time with those who are being remembered. Richie pulled up the information on these two squares, 2744 (Parnell's) and 5508 (Craig's), so I could see where they had traveled, where they had been requested, and where and when they were each on display.

I learned that the demographic who has been contributing the most new squares--they receive on average about 400 new squares each year--are nieces. Girls my age, who have memories, however clear or unclear, of their uncles who died while we were young, and who have now reached the age in which remembering them properly has been an important part of grieving, or becoming an adult, of understanding how this illness has devastated families. I am exactly that generation, that demographic, though I have to consider myself an honorary niece only.

I made a donation in honor of my parents, who have been caring, compassionate examples for my brothers and me, and in honor of Craig and Parnell, obviously, and for each of their families. The wonderful (small) staff gave me a book of some quilt squares, and a calendar I have already poured over several times. I felt so welcomed, and depending on how much longer I am in Atlanta, I want to help quilt squares together as they need me. Seeing a modest and hard-working organization and staff like that also reminds me that I am in the right field; non-profits, working to educate and engage the public, and ensuring that life has been well-spent by taking care of the issues that matter most.

Take a moment to drink in how enormous each panel of this quilt is. Each square is intentionally 3 feet by 6 feet, about the size of a human grave. I was not prepared for the commanding presence, and for how much more meaningful seeing each component up-close truly is.

Arithmetic, for the floor

I can finally post pictures of the gift I made for Elodie Watson's first birthday, since her party was yesterday. She has two math teachers as parents, and so I was struck one night (literally, while driving home around 1 a.m.) that I should make numbers in the same way that I have made oversize letters before. And I already had this amazing pink corduroy that I couldn't resist, but had yet to do anything with. I cut out pattern pieces, which I gave to Ashley so that she can make more numbers (and therefore build to more complicated and bigger number combinations), and made a 0 through 9, plus an addition, subtraction, and equals sign in grey flannel. The edges are raw, so there's no turning out or anything--adds more character.

I love the color, that right pink is so much fun. The image I had in my head was Elodie just wandering around with a number in-hand, since they are cuddly and squishy and a perfect size for her. This was even more fun than the letters I've done before, since it did not require making 26+ pieces, and because numbers are an equally important component of learning for the little ones.

So fun, so cute.