Healing Quilts in Medicine

Art Quilts Making a Difference in the Lives of Patients and their Families


Gallery of University of Michigan 2008 Healing Quilts.

Each piece is 30" x 30" and are permanently installed in the oncology areas of the University Hopsital.

Christine L. Adams
Byron Bay Wonder

Acronychia bauerlenii, common name Byron Bay Acronychia, is a small tree only 9 meters high. According to PlantNET, Acronychia bauerlinii is found in New South Wales, Australia. It flourishes in the subtropical and warm-temperate rainforests. Unfortunately the Acronychia bauerlenii is an endangered species.
I chose to exaggerate the size of the leaves and fruit of this plant. In my art quilt the leaves give shelter to a New South Wales mountain scene much as I hope this plant or some other discovery will shelter those who need its healing properties.
The moonlit mountain scene, a harvest moon, and the shimmering reflections, are inspired by images of this lovely Australian country.

Christine L. Adams
All That Jazz

In AllThat'Jazz' I chose to interpret this fire-red plant loosely by using an informal Baltimore Album format. The same flower is conceptualized in several ways. The lobes are ex- aggerated and enlarged. The piecing is raw-edged. My way of free-motion quilting is a scribbling technique that closely resembles random sketching with a pencil. Most of the fab- rics are solid cotton. Almost fifty different color variations are used. Some of the hues have very subtle differences.

I am honored to be a part of this exhibit of wall quilts. Much of my work is created for healing institutions.

Judy Busby
May Apple (Podophyllum pelatum)

Podophyllum pelatum is a source of plant chemicals in clinical use today. Medicine created from the May Apple helps people with cancer.

As a geoecology student at Albion College, I studied transect in the woods and identified everything within its boundaries. My quilt depicts the May Apple with the woven floor of the forest. The distinctive leaves are easily identified! The lovely flower is unique!

Making an art quilt honoring the researchers who identify, gather and create from such a lovely natural source is a joy!

Donna DeSoto
Cyclea peltata

This quilt was inspired by a photo taken by Dr. Eby Abraham, an Ayurvedic doctor who lives with his family in Kerala, India. Dr. Abraham says of Kerala, "This place, gifted by god, is very beautiful, with lot of Medicinal plants. But nowadays, destructive activities in the name of development and urbanization almost destroyed this treasure and people here are not at all aware of this, due to ignorance, and greed." For more information, please check Dr. Abraham's website at www.ayurvedicmedicinalplants.com.

I am most grateful for his permission to use his photo for this quilt!

Annabel Ebersole
Brucea antidysenterica

I chose this plant as it has an interesting history as a dysentery treatment and potential for cancer treatment. The plant is from Ethiopia, and the quilt repre- sents it with leaves and berries, some immature and others mature. The background fabric is cotton hand dyed by Heide Stolle-Weber which I purchased at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in 2007. The piece includes silk fibers, silk thread, covered wire, silk and cotton fabric, paint, stamping, cotton and rayon threads and embellishments. It is hand and machine stitched and the words represent help and hope for those going through chemotherapy.

Lisa Ellis

I tried a new technique using Photoshop to manipulate this photo and then print it on fabric. The inspiration photo was taken by Craig Cramer and was used with his per- mission. I found it through Google images. His blog is www.remarc.com/craig/.

This project has been deeply satisfying. I appreciate how the Internet brought me together with the photographer and how our work inspires one another.

Lisa Ellis
Castor Bean

For Castor Bean, I wanted to capture the old fashioned look of vintage dish towels. I thought it might be soothing to have remembrances of long ago times or visits with Grandma. The Castor Bean was drawn by my husband, Michael. He used colored pencils. I scanned his image and printed it on fabric.

Paula Golden

The positive aspect of every disease state is that we learn to enjoy the vibrancy of each day, which in turn becomes or equals our life.

Sandi Goldman
Happy Tree

I made this piece to educate the viewer about the Happy Tree and it's power to heal. The definition on the top right of the quilt tells how the bark is used to create two different cancer treatment drugs. I find it fascinating that researchers can find drugs in the most unusual places. I appreciate the dedication of researchers helping to find treatments and cures. I chose words that I find powerful and important to express emotions felt during cancer treatment. The finished piece is held together with a piece of netting and machine stitches; lots of little pieces being held together with something light weight but strong just like friends, families, doctors and nurses who combine together all the pieces needed to go through the treatment process.

Barb Hollinger
Pick Your Poison

The molecule, Tubocurarine, derived from the dart frog, Epipedobates, has shown to be an effective chemo therapy for certain types of brain cancer.

Bunnie Jordan
Rosy Periwinkle

There is something comforting about quilts. Even those too small for the bed can have a soothing appeal. It is my hope that the art quilts in this exhibit offer some comfort or at least some brief distraction to the viewers who find themselves waiting here.

As a nurse who has worked in oncology and a mother whose son was SUCCESSFULLY treated with Vincristine, I was de- lighted to have the opportunity to interpret the rosy periwinkle and hope it is seen as a sign of hope and joy in its flower form and its chemo form.

Carole Nicholas

The marine organisms Elysia rufescens and Dolabella auricularia, as well as cone snails, sea squirts, sponges and corals are all subjects in studies to determine whether they could be beneficial in cancer treatment. Photographic images of the sea slugs are attached to the "rocks" in the lower foreground of this quilt. The underwater scene was inspired by a kayak trip to the La Jolla sea caves on the southern California coast. We paddled over vast kelp beds, home to more than 800 species of marine life. Giant kelp can grow two feet each day and reach lengths of 200 feet. "Tourmaline" is one of the beautiful surfing beaches north of San Diego.