I-378 – Russian Olive Trees

I-378 – Russian Olive Trees

Debbie Bowles
Burnsville, MN    USA

Width: 30"   Length: 40"

Techniques: Machine pieced and quilted. This quilt has a Traditional Sleeve.

Artist Statement: For many years when my mother-in-law, Martha Louise Bowles, an incredible gardener, visited us she would comment on a stand of Russian olive trees near our home. She would comment when we drove past them as we left the house and again when we returned, as if she had forgotten that she had already told us how much she enjoyed them. It was so predictable that we dismissed it as a quirk of aging. It would be quite a few years before we realized this was probably the first sign of dementia.

The units of the quilt signify perceptions of Alzheimer’s and how it changes the lives of so many. The long black and white narrow curves in the center represent the path of life filled with ordinary curves and bumps.

The broken curves on the right represent the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s, the repeating. The brighter stripes that travel in short spurts in many directions represent the fractured lives of Alzheimer’s patients, their families and friends.

Life continues in the border but in slightly less than bright white for all who stand near those with Alzheimer’s.

About The Artist: Designs from Debbie’s Maple Island Quilts Company are loved the world over, from Africa to Australia. You may have seen her on various quilting shows on TV, demonstrating her inventive curves or one of her slightly non-traditional designs. Debbie’s style is “controlled inventive”, achievable and fun.

History: This quilt was part of "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece," a 54-quilt traveling exhibit about Alzheimer's, sponsored by the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). The exhibit traveled from August 2006 until October 2010 when the exhibit retired.

"Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" was shown at 49 venues in 31 states. More than 300,000 people had an opportunity to see this exhibit and learn about Alzheimer's. You can read comments about this extraordinary exhibit here. Many of the quilts are mentioned by name.

The quilts which traveled as part of "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" were loaned to the AAQI to be returned to the artists at the conclusion of the exhibit. Twenty quilts, including this one, were donated to the AAQI by their makers. We are grateful for the opportunity to offer these quilts at auction and thank their makers sincerely for their donations.

This quilt earned $215 for the AAQI.