Made With Love

In the midst of AIDS memorial quilt block #01390, consisting of eight hand crafted panels, subdivided by only the materials they were made of and the design on them, stood one panel at a cooler tone, every single color involved creating the overall theme of the late Flor Valdez for whom the quilt was dedicated to. Unlike the vast number of quilts memorialized for those who have died, battled, or come into contact with the deadly disease I have come across, the particular quilt included woman— four, in fact, all of Hispanic descent, according to their last names. When compared to the dozens of other quilts blocks I shifted through, not many of them contained women, even less containing Hispanic women. The immediate need to find out more about these women, sparking an interest in my research.

Back to quilt block 01390, the home to Flor Valdez panel, a fading blue backdrop containing thick margins of white with tiny circles inhabiting the pattern, some a navy blue completely filled in while others were just simple outlines of the circle. Unlike the others on the quilt block, the margins seemed to have been placed to enlarge the original shape of Flor’s panel, allowing us to envision the primary state of the woman’s panel. Despite the lack of color in the overall appearance of the panel, in contrast to the blues heavily held into the artwork, those who designed and put together this panel included an upside-down trapezoid in a vibrant red shade approximately 6 inches above the AIDS’ victim’s name. The visual of what appears to be a vase, to hold the flowers littering the inside of the it. Despite the unusual shape of the contraption, it balances and brings in more attention to the panel itself, seeing as it’s a pop of color in a frame of washed out shades.

With the fact of the vase brought into attention, the next part to dig into is the flowers bunched into it. From what I was able to observe, there are a total of seven flowers in the panel. Unless my eyes have completely deceived me, that is. Each flower presented on this panel carrying a different shape from the next, the colors ever so slightly repeating, but somehow making it seem as though the color had not been shown before. Overall, I counted only the primary tones plus white used in this piece— red, yellow, and blue, were mixed or used in harmony with one another to create different shades to keep the monotony of the quilt in check. Out of the flowers that appeared on the quilt, one stood out significantly, the six petals looking very similar to thumb prints that surrounded a squiggly white line for the core. The reason it stood out is caused by the space between its petals and the underlying tones brought together by the paint the creator used. The materials that helped bring these images together appear to be plain old paint and sponges, seeing as the material has the texture of purposefully mixed colors to create the washed-out effect, the vase’s sharp shape giving it the appearance of painting that only involved a paint brush. Despite the oddity of the flowers on a quilt, many factors point to the Hispanic culture for this case. As both an outside observer to this panel and as a person of Hispanic descent, flowers are a final sign of both closure and respect to those lost loved ones. Another reason for the flowers being incorporated could also be because of the AIDS victim’s name, Flor.

The Spanish translation for flowers is flores, seeing as the victim’s name is, Flor, it only seemed appropriate to grieve the loss of Flor Valdez by including a group of flowers in her panel. The last thing to mention is the victim’s name and the ways it was formatted on the bottom of it. Hand stitched to the crafter’s liking, the personal feel given from this part showing the love and affection Flor gained from those around her. It was the show of commitment to making a hand-stitched piece on the quilt that brought the entire piece to circle. Flor Valdez lived a life for those surrounding her, the love she gave being reciprocated after her death.

Much like the first primary source description I completed on Michael Hernandez, both quilt panels involved lots of handmade work and time. The creators of the quilts taking the time to address each and every piece to help tell a story about the life the victim lived and the traditions in which their families lightly or heavily incorporated into the victim’s lives. Michael, who’s panel held a large pride rainbow Arbol de Milagros, stitched onto the blank canvas, had family who supported him and made sure to cater to what the deceased person deserved. However, Flor Valdez’s panel does not include any other information about the life she lived, the simplicity of the work points to the basic traditions of respect for her existence.

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