|"This is It" 2012|
It must've been a wild weekend at the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. As it turned out, two of the quilts I had ordered had already been ordered by other supporters of the charity. So, I got two instead of four, and I'm still happy. The two I managed to get are the ones I like best: "This is It" and "Enigma Variation".
|"Enigma Variation" 2012|
So, why all the fuss about Andrea Balosky? Why does her work always sell out as soon as it hits the market? It's because she is a visionary with a remarkable life story and a very distinct point of view. And she's an expert quilt maker who can hand quilt circles around most anyone.
Andrea Leong was born in Hawaii, and by 1982 she was married, living in Seattle, and making her first quilts. Her married name was Andrea Leong Scadden when her first masterpiece was included in the 1983 Quilt National. By the time her work was becoming more well known, she had remarried, moved to Camp Sherman, Oregon, and was known as Andrea Balosky.
|"Night Flight" 1982|
|"Jerry's Garden" 1995|
|"Miala Leong" June, 2002|
|"Albert Einstein" 2001|
At first, the quilts were like eye candy, visually interesting, colorful, and experimental. Then came the realization that each one was given a name - a person's name. When she began making these quilts, the names were random, but as the series evolved she used the names of famous individuals, from Rosa Parks to Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein to Marge and Homer Simpson. The work was about something much more than using up her stash. It was about people who inspired her, and it came during a difficult period of American history, inclusive of 9-11.
|"Rudy Giuliani" 2003|
Andrea Balosky, now known as Nyima Lhamo, hadn't made a quilt since 2004 when she discovered the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative last year. One of her relatives has Alzheimer's, and the idea of making small size quilts for charity was enticing, so she came out of retirement and started making quilts once more. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. The world was finally ready to understand the greatness of her work, but the problem was that none of it was readily available on the open market.
So, to get hold of an Andrea Balosky quilt is not easy, but it's a major feather in the cap. Good for AAQI for inspiring her to produce work once more, and good for anyone who's lucky enough to get any of the quilts. The perfect pair, "This is It" and "Enigma Variation" will soon arrive on my doorstep, and I'm just delighted!