Sunny Edwards Memorial Quilt ~ Improvisational Patchwork

The improvisational patchwork top was made by Rowan Edwards and myself from his grandfather’s, Sunny Edward’s western shirts. We met weekly for three-hour collaborative sessions in my studio until the top and back were complete.

Click on the gallery to scroll through the full images.

At the beginning of the Passage Quilting process Rowan and I discussed holding the simplicity of his grandfather’s life, along with the paintings of Clyfford Still –one of Rowan’s favorite visual artists– as inspiration for the quilt.

 Clyfford Still

The raw materials we had to work with were Sunny’s western shirts, which had lots of points in the collars, cuffs, pockets and backs –reminiscent of Still’s jagged canvases.

Improvisational patchwork memorial quilt

Once the top was complete, we had plenty of material left over so we pieced the back of the quilt from the back of Sunny’s shirts. The backside of the quilt is reminiscent of the wide open ranch land in Texas where Sunny lived most of his days.

The improvisational patchwork process mirrors the re-orientation of bereavement. Piecing the quilt top without a predetermined pattern provides an opportunity to examine life patterns and discover new ways of relating to the living and the deceased. It’s a process of trusting that transformation unfolds in its own time and way, and the outcome of loss is the blessing of new life.

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13 Responses to Sunny Edwards Memorial Quilt ~ Improvisational Patchwork

  1. Susannah says:

    This is fantastic in every way!

  2. Nancy L says:

    love this.. so great..

  3. patty says:

    So nice of you to share the process in the making of this quilt. My girlfriend was at my house this past weekend and she spent time cutting up her late husband’s (Russ) t-shirts and Hawaiian shirts to make memory quilts for family members. She said it would have been hard for her to do at her house by herself and it made it easier to finally approach this task at my house. She said she with cutting these shirt up she feels like she is starting to move forward. She was very stuck and lost last year so I am so glad this is helping her. I had her put any scraps she didn’t want in bin and I will be making myself a piece with those. Russ passed away only a year and a half ago at the age of 53. He was a great guy.

  4. thank you for sharing the process of making the quilt. It’s fantastic how you guided Rowan thru the process of capturing his grandfather’s spirit in the making of the quilt. Love the inspiration photo too. A beautiful quilt, front and back. You showed proof that a quilt is not just a bunch of pieces of fabric sewn together to make a blanket. It has a deeper meaning than that!

  5. Louisa LeMauviel says:

    I enjoyed seeing the evolution of this collaborative process over time. Wonderful documentation of a sweet process of collaboration and meaning making. Thank you.

  6. Heather says:

    What a wonderful piece! I really like the collaborative aspect of you, Rowan, and Sunny working together. And your closing paragraph about the process of bereavement shows such a deep and compassionate understanding. Thank you.

  7. john wiercioch says:

    Gorgeous and moving. Terrific honorary functional piece.
    And the shoes are amazing too!!

  8. Sheila says:

    I agree with LeeAnn… stunning. How special, the collaboration – and I love the blue shoes too!

    I absolutely love it Sherri! :)

  9. Chesley says:

    Thank you for sharing the steps of this quilt. You and Rowan made a wonderful piece in memory of Mr. Edwards. Lovely.

  10. Jeanette Belz says:

    Thank you for sharing the process of putting this quilt together. My father passed away a little over a year ago and my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, wanted to get rid of his clothing right away. The only piece of clothing I got was a jean shirt. It was important for me to get one and it’s hanging in my closet. Your work has given me a new way to think about the grieving process and It has been very meaningful to me.

  11. Jeff says:


  12. LeeAnn says:

    Absolutely stunning and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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