Memories of Bygone Lovers


The title kind of says it all. “Memories of Bygone Lovers”, 18.5”W x 22”T x 1”D,

was created as a cathartic piece after suddenly being dumped by a lover. The event was a big surprise and pretty devastating, but when I finally crawled out of bed, I decided to make something beautiful out of the experience. The phoenix/ crane in the middle symbolizes the memories of bygone lovers, each of whom has taught me something. I’d like to think that I keep building on my experiences and move on more knowledgeable about myself and what I want. There is that old saying something to the effect that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.


I’m the bird down in the lower right, tangled in the debris, but still flying. I’m busy trying to make my nest as beautiful as possible. The tail feathers are made from a gold piece of jewelry from the 60s that someone had given me when they were cleaning out their mother’s house. While the original necklace had five rows of intertwined links, when the rows were cut apart, they made great tail feathers. The background fabric has an overprint of gold paint that was painted on iron-on interfacing. As it dried, it wrinkled, and then was ironed, face down, onto the background fabric. It gave a look of a peeling patina  that wouldn’t have been possible by painting directly onto the fabric.

There is a lot of symbolism regarding lost loves in this piece. I cut up some striped men’s ties and beaded over them. There are also a number of watch faces, to symbolize time gone by. Lengths of ribbons are printed with alternating dandelion flowers and seed heads. For me, these are some of the most ephemeral of flowers, as they last only one day. Even the use of glass buttons, which break easily, suggest the fleeting quality of some relationships. I had a really good time wallowing in the creation of this art work as I purged a “man who done me wrong” from my soul…J In reality, I actually learned a lot and will thank him, should I see him again.

You can see more of my art quilts at my web site at

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6 thoughts on “Memories of Bygone Lovers

  1. Hi Nancy,

    I admire your patience to make your art. It must take hours of stitching. I love how you ‘paint’ with your beads and buttons.

    You often give such nice comments to my work, that  surprises me a little, as my work is so simple compared to yours. 

    I love the colours you’ve used in this piece, haven’t spotted your ‘signature button’ yet!

  2. wow, if that is what it takes (being let down by a lover) to create unbelievable pieces and make stunning art we should all be great artists. I absolutely love this…what would you call it? Art quilt, crazy quilt, what do you call such a piece? I wonder is there any bead that was machine sewn on your quilt? And how long did it take you to make it?

    This is simply incredible, this is a magnificent piece.

  3. Thanks, Caribquilter, well, a woman’s gotta make the best of a bad situation….:) Actually, this art quilt is one of my more simple ones. If you look on my web site… , you’ll see some of the more complicated ones, where 1 square inch if seed beads = 1 hour’s work. I wanted to get this one done, so itonly took a month….and yes, all of those buttons, beads, and frou-frou are sewn on by hand. While there are industrial machines that can sew buttons on in a consistant pattern (like buttons down the placket of a shirt), or couch on a long string of beads, these are all done, at the most, three at a time. However, I taught 7th graders for 27 years, so this is easy…:)

  4. I am very new to quilting. This piece caught my eye because it is so rich in texture. Oh how I am looking forward to being able to doing something so beautifully perfect in every way!   Suzanne

  5. I am very new to quilting. This piece caught my eye because it is so rich in texture. Oh how I am looking forward to being able to doing something so beautifully perfect in every way!   Suzanne

  6. Dear suzannequilts, it just takes lots of practice! I’ve been a porfessional art quilter since 1981, so I’ve had LOTS of time to make LOTS of what at the time seemed like mistakes. The trick is to leave something that didn’t turn out so well alone, often for years, and then come back to it with a new eye.