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All artwork this page copyright Meryl Ann Butler 2003

Mohena Belle Roberts Harris’

100th Birthday Quilt

Private collection

 

I created this Legacy Quilt in May, 1994, for my grandmother for her 100th birthday. Photos were loaned by her many friends and relatives, whose co-operation was vital to the successful completion of this quilt. Over 90 people and five animal friends are represented in nearly 80 photoprints in this quilted wallhanging. The photos were printed onto fabric by Phototextiles, Inc., Bloomsbury, Indiana.

 

Since Mohena Belle always loved birds, bees and butterflies, there are many of these on the quilt, including an antique lace buttlerfly appliqué near the central image of the quilt. The handpainted ceramic bird buttons were made by button artist Debra Rutherford. I crosstitched the butterfly and central name plaque.

 

Since daisies were Mohena Belle’s wedding flower, a daisy trim arch was embellished onto her wedding photo. Native American Indian handcarved mother-of-pearl birds fly above, an allusion to her heritage.

 

In the early 70’s, Mohena Belle had given me some lace made by her mother, Etta Love Bailey (Roberts). Some of this lace is used on this quilt, notably, the lace on Etta’s own photo, the lace on Mohena Belle’s photo at age 2; the lace just above the photo of Etta and Albert, and the tatting on the dress in the central photo of Mohena Belle.

 

An antique plastic basket from Mohena Belle’s collection also embellishes the quilt.

 

Images of Mohena Belle, along with her husband and children, form the central area of the quilt. Above are photos of her childhood family, including siblings and parents. To the left of the central image, are son, Ira, and his family; and to the right are daughter Mohena, and her family. Photos of six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and seven step-grandchildren and their families are on the lower portion of the quilt.

 

Photos include Mohena Belle’s 90th birthday party; Mohena Belle with her prizes from winning the “Best Baby” title in the 1897 Atlanta contest (with over 500 entrants); dressed as a gypsy for a Halloween party at age 17; the Queens, NY, home she lived in for 70 years, and Mohena Belle, at age 98, dancing with her brother-in-law!

 

Every photo is captioned, so that the viewer can read the story of Mohena Belle’s life through the words and images.

 

Mohena Belle enjoyed this quilted legacy until her death at nearly 103.

 

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