Been hanging out at the hospital with my sister and her husband for the last few days. Sis is improving, will probably go home today. I’ll tag along, visiting my youngest and the burrito as well. This week has offered me several intriguing vistas upon which to expand within familial ties, in art, and another chapter in a year full of medical sagas. But this event is about achieving a better quality of life; my sister had terrible arthritis in her hip, and now she’s the proud owner of a new hip joint, and will begin incorporating that space-age replacement into her day-to-day.
My role has been that of a cheerleader, chauffeuring my brother-in-law between the hospital and our house, and keeping family and friends in the loop. But I have been the pleased recipient of artistic gifts; the facility where Sis has been is also full of fabulous pieces of art, from photos and cibachromes to aquatic etchings, woodblocks, and prints of paintings. A couple of Van Gogh posters are framed near Sis’ room, and I’ve accumulated nearly twenty snapshots of amazing art, which I want to turn into quilts of various sizes. Photos by Jeffrey Becom first caught my eye, followed by Christopher Burkett’s cibachromes. Then came Loretta Bennett’s aquatic etchings, and suddenly my improv quilting had a focus. How cool to fashion wall hangings and perhaps even larger comforters, based upon these pieces of artwork?
I think I’ll call it the Stanford Series, not for The Hawk’s Stanford Taylor (although it’s a comical irony), but due to where my sister is being treated. Helen and Peter Bing have donated a vast array of beautiful pieces, and I’m also a recipient of their generosity. I have no idea which piece I’ll choose first for inspiration; I want to make some Advent floating squares wall hangings when I return home. But then it’s a matter of picking one the photos I snapped, curating some fabrics, then interpreting that treasure via cottons and thread. My brother-in-law was partial to Van Gogh’s The Pink Orchard, noting how Van Gogh had captured the cross-pollinating trees. That piece is probably the most complicated, so it might sit on the backburner awhile. But when I make it, I want to infuse it with the joy of seeing my sister on her feet, trying out that new hip. On her second major outing, she said it finally felt like a part of her, but that it was also an odd sensation. She is somewhat like Stanford Medical Center, being rebuilt to better serve the community.
The above shot isn’t artistic, but it’s indicative of my sister’s journey, tearing things down to improve the situation. Fortunately Sis’ hip will heal much faster than clearing up a building site, and I’m grateful for the muse stirred within me. There are reasons for all these moments; the key is seeing the beauty amid the chaos, even if that beauty is merely fragments. Art encourages a positive outlook. Thanks to the Bings and other philanthropists for surroundings patients and their families with healing, inspiring images!