Mary Buck

I've always loved cats–size, shape, color or fur has never really been an issue. Rather, the mystique that is part and parcel of the feline attracts my interest. So when my brother-in-law said “you're like the lion in the Wizard of Oz,” his words caught my attention. In fact, my submission, “The Lioness Leap of Courage”, is a direct result of those words.

His remark came after he heard my answer to the question my sister had just posed on New Year's morning. As we sat watching the falling snow through the family room window, she asked: “What life lesson had last year taught?”

My life lesson—like the lion of Oz—was I needed courage! I needed the strength to go beyond a medical diagnosis of a painfully debilitating and uncurable muscular disease (FSH-MD) and, perhaps more importantly, move on with my new life.

For me, courage is a big word. In contrast, my quilt art only measures 8.5” x 11”, but I believe it captures a side of courage that is oftentimes overlooked. When I think of courage I see a wide open space like the one surrounding the free drawn lion shape. Mostly machine-quilted, it is the open space of mountains, valley, and trees and the provision of a place for the lion that speaks so loudly to me. It takes courage to face an open space without a compass or plan.

To celebrate my inner animal, I began the process using three layers as part of my overall design strategy. Later, I stuffed the face of the lion to give it a 3-dimensional quality of life and living especially as it faces the unknown. I further embellished the lion with threads and small beads. This embellishment focuses the eye of the viewer on the lion's forward action while visually suggesting a “jeweled” or precious quality of courage. The final stage included a simple overcast stitch to finish the mitered binding. I then installed the required back sleeve.

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Helen Gregory

About Helen Gregory

Helen Gregory is the managing editor for Quilting Arts Magazine and Cloth Paper Scissors. She has been quilting for years; however, her very first quilt, a hand-pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden design, is still not finished! Since joining the QA/CPS team, Helen's stash has grown to include many mixed-media items. Basically, Helen has crossed over and sees artful possibilities in, well, everything. Having worked for years in the quilting industry, both as an editor and in marketing, she is absolutely thrilled to be part of the QA team. Like everyone on the QA/CPS staff, she wears many hats, and was recently mistaken for Pokey's personal assistant during the taping of QA TV Season 4.

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