My Grandmother’s Art Medium?
See shown: my maternal grandmother, Dora Belle (Lane) Kaiser, first, left, in a charcoal drawing, based on a studio photo from her teen years; then, right, in another charcoal drawing about age 55.
Just lately new trends in the art world, recognizing women’s traditional activities as also fine art creations, have changed my perspective on my Grandmother Belle. I  see her “hobbies” in a new light!

She was drawn to art herself, in a way that seemed unlikely for someone who had only a grade school education, whose world until age 20 was a rural farm in southern Indiana.
Yet she was unusually skilled and creative in the domestic arts. Especially original quilt design and construction.

Later in her mature years, Dora paid uncommon attention to news items about international trends in the art world! When I was young, I remember her showing me a newspaper clipping, a feature on modern optical art, (that looked something like this illustration. See middle image above.    Added: Period: 1960’s  and Op Art is the accepted term now.

She said this art would make a “pretty” quilting pattern, and I agreed.
So she set herself to adapting this complex abstract pattern to a full-size bed quilt!

The result was impressive. Most of her other quilts were based on “old patterns” passed on from one to another relative. But this was an adaptation from another source. My grandmother found the latest abstract trends in modern art inspiring!

I regret now that I have no idea what happened to her quilt creations, once I left home. Sometimes grasping what a loved one has accomplished is hard see. Its too close to have a historic perspective.

For me it took decades to realize she was an original fabric artist. But looking back, with 21st-century ideas about women and art, it’s obvious!