In addition to having a passion for genealogy, I also have a passion for making both mixed-media art quilts and bed quilts. I am a member and Past President of Quilters of Color Network of New York. My quilts have also been exhibited nationwide.
My Ancestor Quilts:
“Precious Lord, Take My Hand” was inspired by a story my grandmother told me about my great-grandfather. Grandpa Green was a deeply religious man. He was also a deacon at Messiah Baptist Church, my hometown church, in Brockton, MA. He was raised in the church and stayed there until his dying days. According to my Nana, he passed away (or went home as we say) singing “Precious Lord, take my hand…” The photo is from a tintype featuring Grandpa Green and his mother, Laura Thompson Green.
This is a quilt of my great-grandmother, Gertrude Jackson Green. The photo was taken in the early 1900s. I thought she looked beautiful so I named the quilt, “She was Beautiful” because she was!
I made this quilt for my step-mother, Kathleen Balthazar Heitzmann. Her ancestors are from Cane River, Louisiana. Mama Kathleen is also the genealogist for all Cane River Creoles (Cane River Trading Company). I named this quilt “A River Runs Through Us” and it features her ancestors.
Here is my oldest sister, Elisa Vega, at an exhibit featuring my two ancestor quilts.
Here is another example of an ancestor quilt that features the names of 45 African ethnic groups that African Americans descend from. I added the names of the ethnic groups to the background of the quilt. In the forefront of the quilt, the orisha Yemaya, Goddess of the Sea, is sitting. She is looking over, protecting, and guarding all of our ancestors who were lost during the Middle Passage. In the close-up, you can see Yemaya’s ethnic group above her head—Yoruba.