The quilt, titled, Our Story, was created by 99 of our Lake High School Students. The quilt began as a project, but evolved into an intense and emotional outlet for all involved.
In preparing to make this work of art, students learned about the work of American Artist, Faith Ringgold. Ringgold is well known for her story quilts. Ringgold's story quilts consist of a painting on canvas that was then quilted to frame the painting, and then text was added to tell the story of the painting. With the inspiration of Ringgold's story quilts, Lake students then created their own story quilt, as a collaborative project, working together to make one, unified piece. The story that we all share in common, the devastation of the June 2010 tornado, would be our subject for the quilt.
Each art student in levels 1 and 2 created an individual quilt square by hand sewing different shapes and patterns into a 9x9” quilt square. Students could interpret something about the tornado into their square if they chose to. These squares were quilted together to form one entire side of the quilt. This side of the work is quilted by attaching string in the the corners of the squares. There are 7 beads strung on each of the strings in memory of the 7 lives lost in the storm.
Advanced art students created the painted panels for the other side of the quilt. Each of the 5 advanced students were given a word that relates to the experience of a tornado, which they then interpreted through their art.
Senior, Tatiana Walters-Mihalis, created the top panel. She was given the word “fear.” From that, Tatiana has painted the reflection of a funnel cloud in eyes, wide open. Tatiana felt as though we had to look fear in the face that night.
Senior, Shelby Harrison, created the 2nd panel from the word “destruction.” Shelby used mixed media to portray broken tree limbs, debris and cars flying through the air, and dark skies. Her work is very expressive.
Senior, Brittany Pfeifer, created the 3rd panel from the word “community.” Brittany has used mixed media to show the community picking up debris from the streets. Her simplistic stick figures help the viewer to concentrate on their actions, rather than the figures themselves. Pfeifer wanted her viewers to understand that because of the community coming together to help one another, even with such horrible destruction, there was a sense of comfort and peace.
Junior, Myranda Brown, created the 4th panel from the word “family.” Brown worked to display how a family would huddle together to take shelter from the storm. This piece shows the harsh reality of what our close friends and families experienced that fearsome night.
The final panel was created by Junior, Nicholas Knight, from the word “rebuilding.” Nick has painted the former high school with dark skies above, that begins to crumble and morph into the new high school, with bright blue skies above. Knight felt as though the rebuilding came with a fresh start, and therefore, included the use of color to help identify the change. Old to new, dark to light.
After many hours of quilting all of the pieces together, each student was able to write their own experience of that scary night onto the white border of the panels. Students could write as much or as little as they wished. The project was designed as a way for the students to be able to express their emotions about the tornado in a healthy format and a safe environment.
Our Story was recently awarded Grand Prize, Best of Show, at the “For the Love of Art” show in Pemberville, Ohio. The quilt will be entered into several other shows as the school year continues and will find a permanent home somewhere in the new high school.
Lake High School Art Teacher, Marissa Glenn, presented her class project, Our Quilt, at the recent Board of Education meeting on February 15. Two contributing students presented their part in the work as well.