LOSS: An Exhibit of Quilts

August 20-26, 2016


This exhibit presents work I have done over a period of twelve years, since the death of my son Jeremy Gold Amor. Making this art helped me live with deep loss, giving me a way to express the complexities of grief, anguish, regret, and solace.

At various points in my life, facing one or another sort of personal difficulty, I used journal writing as a way to work through the problem. Through the writing--and the thinking it entailed--the turmoil abated. So, after Jeremy's death, I turned to personal writing, hoping it would ease my agony, give me some relief from the pain. It didn't.

A year later, when I began working on a quilt that expressed my feelings of loss, I found another path. Words had been inadequate, but designing and making a quilt allowed me to bring the feelings into being through the creation of abstract art.  Starting with an idea that I wanted to express, and working for months with fabric and thread to bring the idea forward in abstract form--this gave me some measure of relief. One after another, a series of quilts took shape, each one dealing with some part of the emotional/psychological impact of Jeremy's death. Expressing them in this material, abstract, visible way--this gave me a kind of feeling of security. The idea/message was concretely there; the rumination on one or another aspect could stop. It had a home in the work. The journal writing stopped.


Every day I worked on these quilts, I have felt gratitude to the people who helped me pursue this path. It began with the gifted teaching of Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle (Modern Quilt Studio); in the course of one week's study with them in 2005, I learned to think like an artist. They have continued to give me keen advice and support. Other teachers since have propelled my work further: Carol Soderlund, Dorothy Caldwell, Claire Benn, Katherine Kadish. Thanks also to the art faculty at Knox, who have been exceptionally supportive from the time that I began working on the Loss quilt—providing critiques of my work, allowing me to sit in on classes, and just talking with me like a fellow artist: Tony Gant, Mark Holmes, Lynette Lombard, Rick Ortner, Claire Sherman, Tim Stedman. Special thanks to Mark, who encouraged me to work towards a show and offered me the wonderful space of his gallery. The support and critique of my friends in Quilters By Design (all former students of Bill and Weeks) has also been crucial, whether through our semi-annual gatherings, emails, or individual visits. Mary Beth Clark responded to step-by-step questions on almost every quilt; her insight and expertise have informed much of what I do. Louise Gates gave concentrated help at a crucial point in my work on Accident II, steering me to its successful completion. Finally, and above all, thanks to David, always and ever, my companion in love and in grief.  No quilt was done until he gave a nod that yes, this rang true to him also. He understands, more than anyone else could, what each quilt means.

Special thanks also to Todd Smith and his staff in the Knox A/V office, for producing the videos of my talk and of David's recital. 

for further discussion of the quilts

Many of these quilts are discussed in detail on my blog. Look for the name of each quilt in the list of "Labels" on the bottom right of the web page.

In 2010, I gave a talk on my path from scholarship to art: "From Study to Studio: Meaning and Motivation in Scholarship and Art." A version, with photos, is available here

Abby Glassenberg wrote about "Self-Portrait, Year 2" for Generation Q magazine, re-published here on her blog.

Bill Volckening has discussed my work in Why Quilts Matter, split into Part 1 and Part 2.

A memorial page with photos of and words about Jeremy

Penny Schine Gold