Created by Kathleen Wheaton, Fairport, NY
Title: THISTLE & BAGPIPES
Theme: Impact of Immigration (Lowell MA exhibit)
Materials and techniques: cotton fabric, batting, thread, pigma pens, Derwent Inktense, colored pencils, Golden acrylic paints and Fabric, medium, stencil
Sailing ships were fussy cut and pieced for the side borders. The Statue of Liberty was stenciled then painted. The Thistle was drawn by hand and painted. The map was drawn freehand, outlined with pigma pen and stitching. Land masses were colored with Inktense pencils which blend with water but become permanent after drying. The oceans were painted with acrylics. The history was written in Pigma pen. A toothbrush was used to mottle the backgrounds with blue paint. Random machine quilting was added.
Did you enjoy this project? Yes and no. When I worked on the piece documenting my husband’s family, there was a clear historic reason/impact for the immigration. However, my family’s immigration from Scotland came about more as an accidental result of my great grandfather’s occupation as a seaman. If family accounts are true, my great-grandmother never actually wanted to leave Scotland! And yet the family now hails from the new country. Less dramatic, harder to depict. Yet the Scottish part of my personal history is the one that calls to me the strongest, and while I have visited there, I long to visit again!
About: My family immigrated from Scotland to the United States almost as an accidental result of my great-grandfather’s occupation as first mate on a sailing vessel that regularly crossed the Atlantic to New York City. His wife and daughter were content to stay with their clansmen in their native country, but were eventually persuaded to resettle in America. Unfortunately, both great grandparents died early deaths, leaving my grandmother an orphan in the new country. The sea captain’s family, also native Scotsmen, had already resettled in the U.S. and raised her. My grandmother never had the chance to return to Scotland for even a visit, but after her death, my mother, sister and I made an unforgettable pilgrimage to the land of our ancestors.