It’s all relative

June 13, 2021 – Mandala 2
June 13, 2021 – Mandala

Growing up on Long Island in the 1960s and early 70s, we often went to family get-togethers with my mom’s side of the family. One cousin, five years younger than me, was a gifted painter at an early age. These two pictures of Portia with her brothers (along with a younger cousin), and her parents were taken at our wedding in 1977 …

We wouldn’t see them all again until middle-brother George got married in Virginia.

Portia went on to pursue art studies at Cooper Union, Skowhegan, and the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers. All of which I know because she has been so successful in her professional life that she has a Wikipedia entry.

We haven’t stayed in touch over the years, but Instagram enabled me to catch up on her many accomplishments, after which I explored her website

Better late than never, I learned more about Portia and her art in a recent Woodstock-Byrdcliffe Forum presentation. She reminded me so much of her mother, Jay, both in appearance and her gentle manner of speaking. What struck me most, though, was how often she referred to what she was thinking while creating her art. I loved that.

I especially appreciated her mandalas of ephemeral flower petals surrounding birds killed by flying into the path of oncoming cars. They are both memento mori and commentary on the impact of human-wrought technology on nature. Terrible beauty.

And at the end of her Woodstock-Byrdclyffe talk, Portia mentioned that she will be installing a permanent exhibit at the 21C Museum Hotel opening in St Louis next year. That was all it took for me to finally reach out online. Hopefully we will meet again if our calendars and travel plans align.

Meantime, I made a mini-mandala of stacked stitching, learned from Jude, using Deb’s threads on black linen. But this patch may not be the one that I end up using … I had way too much fun to stop with just one.

12 thoughts on “It’s all relative

  1. What a lovely reminder of re-conenction this patch is. And I love that we live in world where we can rediscover folk in a gentle and unobtrusive way and then reach out…


    1. exactly …. although it’s sad that so-called maiden names were often jettisoned after marriage (myself included) … making it challenging to find female folk decades later


  2. It is. I sometimes think about friends from long ago that I’ve lost touch with and wonder. There are a few relatives too….

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  3. How wonderful to rekindle your connection. The kaleidoscope-ness of this beautiful patch makes me think of how your patches are shards of the times, memories, places and people of your life, all being brought together. And many congratulations on the well deserved inclusion in the book!


    1. so good to see you again, Hazel … likewise, was happy to read the happy ending to the Covid Times, the good beginnings that stretch ahead of you and yours


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