Saturday, August 31, 2013

From East St. Louis Illinois to Beijing China

The Sum Of Many Parts opening ceremony
I was invited to Beijing China to not only be a part of this celebration but to also facilitate 11 workshops. Seven of the workshops were in Beijing and four were facilitated in Xi'an China a two hour flight from Beijing. The biggest barrier was the language, but the interpreters help things to run smooth as silk and packets of fabric was already prepared for each participant, all I had to do was facilitate the activities. I felt like a star, my daughter and I was picked up at the airport by an Embassy driver who took us to our hotel.

Each day we were picked up and taken to our destination, and returned afterwards to our beautiful hotel. I worked with primary and elementary aged children as well as quilting groups, staff at a social service agency, and a disabled group. To me it was a great exchange of education and artistry, everyone was so open and willing to try something new. After each group I allowed 10-15 minutes for anyone who wanted to share their experience a chance to do so. A good time was had by all.

An awesome welcoming
When I first entered Williams English School in Xi'an I was awe struck. There were about  40 children sitting in a 'U' shape array of table and chairs, and lined up behind them were two rows of chairs filled with adults. It was hard to believe that this was all for me. As I came further into the room I saw the banner above welcoming me to their school.  'In To Me I See' is the title of my workshop. A total program had been planned. Two older students did the introduction, one spoke in English the other in Mandarin, they in turned introduced the principal/founder of the school who gave a nice welcoming speech he then introduced Erika from the Embassy who accompanied me to each workshop. She said a few words and then introduced me and the workshop began, at that time I so wished that I could speak their language and I did let them know that, I invited any parent that wanted to assist their child to do so, and they rushed to the tables. It was such a fun experience.

Having the opportunity to work with a staff was also a blessing, they would be able to work directly with their clientele and know first hand what the experience was like.

This is the staff of Gender Development Solution (a social service program working with abused women and children). My trip to China is not one that I will soon forget. It was a lesson and a eye opening experience for all. I know that I am truly blessed and give thanks daily for all of the opportunities that my art exposes me to.

Friday, July 26, 2013


It has been such a long time since I have posted anything. My only excuse, which is really a great excuse, is that I have been working in my studio on personal work as well as commissions, in the park on my community project, and in my own back yard. None of that is bad, just time consuming and so I sometimes get antsy when I sit at the computer too long therefore my postings have suffered or more or less been non-happening. But I am thrilled to share that August 15 to the 25. 2013, I will be in Beijing China.
I will attend the closing ceremony of 'The Sum of Many Parts' I will also facilitate a few workshops
and give a lecture on my process and style of creating.
I will also be flown to Xi'an to do another workshop, then back to Beijing for my return flight home.  I am very excited about the trip and extremely happy that my daughter will be able to accompany me on this journey.  My husband, due to his health did not think he could endure the long flight. I have also been informed that while in China I will be escorted to see The Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, and the Terra Cotta Warriors. This truly is a blessing, I received this wonderful news about the China trip one week after my birthday in April, what a wonderful gift.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Edna Patterson-Petty:fabric, quilts, community and her creative journey

One of Edna Patterson-Petty's Fabric Art Pieces, Eye on the Sparrow. "I love it because keeping your eye on the sparrow is about staying focused and not wavering because of many of life's situation," she says about the piece.

Edna Patterson-Petty, a multimedia and fabric artist, art therapist, and SIUE alumna, has recently published a new catalogue called Fabrics Work: My Creative Journey. The catalogue features images of some of her works, including the fabric art of her famous Obama Series.
Her catalogue features her fabric art creations that present gorgeous designs with photographs and bright, rich fabrics that speak of liberation, of soul, of empowerment, of struggle, of life. Patterson-Petty’s fabric art stirs the spirit with its presentation of the human condition, yet leaves one optimistic within the tapestries of texture, curves, and colors that express hope.
Patterson-Petty’s creative journey, expressed in both her art and in her biography, experiences, and overall vision, is a voyage that can inspire both artists and art admirers alike. Her life as an artist has taken her many places and has seen rich development within her own community, which is East St. Louis.

“I am from an impoverished area that most people have very few kind words for…” She writes in Fabrics Work. “But I know the cultural richness and history of the community, and that is instrumental in nurturing my creativity.”
Patterson-Petty has wanted to be an artist since she was a child, even though she “did not know the term artist and what it entailed” as a child. Growing up, she always found herself creating something and expressing her artistic abilities, especially in making quilts with her mother. Her mother would make quilts for her family using old clothing, curtains, and other cloths, and this sparked her artistic vision.
The art that Patterson-Petty creates is often from recycled objects or from what others may view as trash. Like her mother, she gets second use out of clothing, curtains, and old cloths by transforming them into art. She makes fabric art for others using this technique as well.  When people request that she make them a quilt, she asks for old pieces of clothing or blankets to incorporate into the piece, making it a work of shared vision between artist and quilt owner.
Besides creating art for others, Patterson-Petty also counsels others an art therapist. She holds a Master of Arts in Art Therapy, which she earned at SIUE along with her Bachelor’s degree and second master’s degree, both in Studio Art. Her formal education gave her the opportunity facilitate art therapy programs that help people grapple with deep emotional issues, an opportunity she describes as both daunting and gratifying.

“The most rewarding as well as challenging aspect of art therapy is helping individuals navigate their lives. It is like re-parenting a person that has already been raised,” she explains.
Patterson-Petty helped several young women confront self-esteem and self-worth issues that usually sprung from sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse while working at the Lessie Bates social service agency in East St. Louis.
Many of these women whom she counseled were mothers, and she additionally facilitated positive parent/child interaction. In aiding women to love and respect themselves and have nurturing relationships with their children, Patterson-Petty felt that her role in the lives of the young women was maternal.

“I became the symbolic mother…being skillful not to have clients become dependent upon me, but to [instead] trust themselves and want more for themselves and their children,” she says, “[helping them] to uncover their strengths and build upon them, to not dwell upon their weaknesses…but to relish in what they can become, what they can change about themselves.”
Being an art therapist has given Patterson-Petty insight and inspiration that has helped her create fabric art such as In My Shadow and A New Day, both of which center on struggles with self-esteem and personal insecurity. Just as creating art is an essential part of her personality, helping people is essential to her art.

“I enjoy helping people, and my own personal art always gave me a way of working out and through emotional baggage that is always picked up from working with various individuals,” she says.
Patterson-Petty believes that being an artist lies in steadfastly engaging in creating art and not being distracted by any societal or social pressures to do otherwise. To be an artist, she feels that one must truly know oneself and have peace with the self, much like what she has taught to those she counsels with art therapy. She advises anyone, whether attending art therapy or wanting to be an artist, to examine the self because only then can art be authentic and truly therapeutic.
“Trusting self is very important…[as well as] knowing one’s self-worth and finding balance in one’s life,” she explains.

Edna Patterson-Petty is an artist who indeed knows herself but also knows others. As an artist and art therapist, she has reconciled the knowledge of self to help those in her community and any viewers of her art looking for inspiration to do the same.
Fabrics Work: My Creative Journey provides just a sampling of many of Patterson-Petty’s works. Some of her fabric art as well as mosaics can be seen in many public places such at the Missouri Historical Society, the East St. Louis school district, the Metro Link stop at Washington Park, Lambert Airport, and SIUE’s East St. Louis campus.
To view her work, her catalogue can be found on Amazon, and she will additionally be exhibiting her work at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) in St. Louis from November 30, 2012 to January 13, 2013.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Unveiling

Mayor Slay, myself, airport Dir. Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge

An unobstructed view of the mural
 December 20, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. I was a very excited artist, it was the unveiling of my glass mural design.  It was a year ago that I created a mock up for the design and was off to Munich, Germany to work with glass artist to recreate that design in glass. The design is called 'A Whimsical View', it is what I call the deconstruction of a quilt. 

I am so thankful that I didn't listen to the voices in my head oh so many years ago about living my dream as an artist. I gave up a job in social work that I was not happy with. I buried my desire to be who I was meant to be, and paid dearly for it, because I was constantly in and out of the hospital. While laying up in the hospital in 1978, I vowed that once I was home and recuperated I would enroll in college. It was not to become an artist, it was to learn techniques, terminology, and to be around like minded individuals.  And I can say today, that I am so thankful that I took that step. I am now living my authenic self and enjoying every creative moment of it. My art has been such a blessing to me and for me and I give thanks daily.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ottawa Exhibit

information outside of the gallery
My first trip to Ottawa, Canada was quite rewarding. I was excited, nervous, overwhelmed, etc. But it all went well, my work was displayed in galleries #1 and #3. In gallery 2 was the work of a young man who created art quilts using recycled circuit boards-very interesting, I was in awe of the work. Prior to the reception at the gallery I was interviewed by CBC. radio about my work that was on display, and many individuals present at the gallery stated that they had heard the interview and wanted to meet me. There was quite a big turn-out. The road to Canada, was one that started years ago.

Adrian Harewood, CBC news anchor, is the person that put it all in motion. When he was doing a radio program at CBC.CA he took time off from 'life' and toured various cities here in the States. When he arrived in St. Louis, he talked to a fellow journalist that told him about the interesting couple in East St. Louis, Edna and Reginald Petty.  He called, we met at my home.  Prior to his leaving, some 6 plus hours later he made the pledge that he was going to help make it possible for me to have an exhibit in Canada.  As I said earlier, this was a long time coming.  One day I received an email asking if I remembered him, and was I still interested in having an exhibit.  With his help and the help of the curator Andrea Fatone, and the Embassy the exhibit was made possible.
Cultural Attache' Dr. Meriwether, myself, J. Jacobson, Amb. wife, and
Andrea Fatone, curator.