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Thread Counts A Stitch in Time By MARIMAR MCNAUGHTON Photographs by APRIL WIRCHANSKY trending Mary Wirchansky’s first portrait quilt, “And The Lord Gave Yet Another Spring,” is one she compiled from memory across the passage of time. From numerous annual visits to North Carolina’s Duplin County, home of her ancestors, in the 1950s, she completed the quilt in 1996. “She was a composite of old ladies I remembered. We would go to North Carolina in the springtime,” Wirchansky says by telephone from her Schenevus home in upstate New York. She originally intended to create a watercolor quilt, so think of this one like a painting made with fabric. In the background where the woman just came from is the field. The earth has been freshly tilled awaiting a spring planting, yet the small family cemetery plot at its centerpiece beckons life eternal. In the foreground, the woman is framed by the porch of an abandoned ancestral home. The double door, ajar, invites her to step inside. In her hands she holds a nosegay of winter’s camellias, while a riot of spring flowers — clumps of hydrangeas, a rash of red azaleas, a vine of drooling wisteria — symbolize spring time. And The Lord Gave Yet Another Spring, 64 inches by 51 inches, 1996. 16 WBM february 2015


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