Created by Kathleen Wheaton, Fairport, NY
Title: FREEDOM TO LEARN
Theme: Impact of Immigration (for Lowell exhibit)
Materials and techniques: cotton fabric, thread, batting, Pigma pens, Derwent Inktense, colored pencils, Golden acrylic paints, Golden Fabric Painting Medium
Map was traced onto tissue paper, sewed onto the fabric and then the paper was removed. Words were added using a pigma pen. The land masses were colored with the Inktense pencils, which are blended with water, but become permanent after drying. The oceans were painted using the acrylic paints and fabric medium. Both coloring agents were transparent enough to allow the written words to show through. Borders were strip pieced and corners were mitered. Some random machine quilting was added to the map area.
Did you enjoy this project? Yes! It was a learning experience to explore the personal history of my husband’s family, and understand it in terms of the political/world history of the time.
About: All four of my husband’s grandparents immigrated from the Ukraine to the Lowell/Boston MA area in the early 1900’s to escape persecution, but I knew very little of their history beyond that. Reading about how the Russian Jews were beaten, killed, confined and restricted brought that piece of history alive for me. One of the elements that made an impression on me was about how the Jews were restricted from receiving an education in Russia. The grandparents came, basically uneducated and unable to speak English, yet they made sure their children all received the education they had been denied. And not just high school, but advanced degrees at prestigious schools like MIT where my father-in-law received his education and later became a professor. My husband also received his three degrees from MIT. I chose to document their successful quest for education through immigration.