Anniversary of the Artist’s Birth

Today is the anniversary of my “birth” as an artist.  Two years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.  I watched CNN, glued to the tv for hours.  Including getting up in the nite to watch Anderson Cooper for updates.

I can’t really tell you why Katrina had such a profound effect on me and my life.  The news often effects me, particularly big natural disasters.  Anything related to weather and nature and how we humans act and react to such events intrigues me.

After several days (and nites) of watching tv, I felt like I had to do something.  I paced and thought and paced and threw fabric around.  I was unbearable to be around, I’m sure.  Finally, I had a vision in my head of what I wanted to create and set about doing so.  While doing one art quilt, I had the idea to do a second.  I made both of these art quilts in a week. One to remember the joy and fun that I personally experienced in New Orleans many years ago,   and the other to express the profound sadness, loss and angst.

In honor of the many victims of Hurricane Katrina….

This is “Masquerade”


Masquerade close1

Masquerade close2

And this is my best known piece, “And She Drowned Friday Night”.  I am including the artist’s statement with the photos.

Artist’s Statement

 This quilt was inspired by the Sept. 4, 2005 interview of Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard on Meet the Press. A partial transcript of that interview (the part that inspired this piece) follows:

 “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” And he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.  Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday.  Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday.” And she drowned Friday night.”

This story about Hurricane Katrina moved me to tears like no other story. It is seared in my mind forever. And it moved me to make this quilt. This is one of those quilts that I HAD to do. I have been obsessing about it since Sept 4. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The creating and quilting of this piece was cathartic, and fed my soul.  Hopefully it will touch others.







So today is bittersweet.  I still mourn the loss of Americans, the loss of cities, the loss of a culture that needs to be re-built.

And on a personal level, I rejoice in the newly found artist within myself.  I continue to be inspired by nature, events and people.  I continue to work and learn.  I continue to create.

Life is good.  I only wish it were so good for those on the Gulf Coast.



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. eileenkny
    Aug 29, 2007 @ 12:24:16

    Oh Gayle. Those 2 quilts make a statement that covers the whole spectrum of feelings I think we all had in 2005.
    I’m a news hound, any and all news. But especially that which can change history. So I can understand where your “had to make it” impulse cam from.
    You should really contact a local station and tell them about your Katrina quilts.


  2. Sharon Dixon
    Aug 29, 2007 @ 13:57:32

    Gayle, I had the privilege of seeing “And She Drowned Friday Night” at the Houston show and I was so moved by it. I am still moved by it. Your big heart shows in your art work….thank you for sharing this again.


  3. wendysquilting
    Aug 29, 2007 @ 16:39:21

    I love your work Gayle and I’m so glad that you are not only sharing your art but also the stories behind it.


  4. Carol
    Aug 30, 2007 @ 10:53:48

    I alwasy think of your “And She Drowned Friday Night” everytime I hear anything about New Orleans and Katrina. It is indelible in my mind. Thank you.


  5. Lynn Douglass
    Aug 30, 2007 @ 18:06:54

    It has been such a pleasure to watch you grow as an artist over the past couple of years! I have enjoyed our artsy chats, and I look forward to many more!


  6. carlafibers
    Aug 31, 2007 @ 04:15:00

    Love your quilts and quilting, Gayle! Can’t wait to see what you do next!


  7. sammi
    Aug 31, 2007 @ 07:18:19



  8. Elizabeth
    Sep 03, 2007 @ 11:05:37

    (Mom typing)

    Hi Grandma Gayle,

    I like the quilts. Can you send them here? Mom said she thinks the quilt has been to France. Do you live in France?



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