The Barry Recht memorial series
February 22, 2011
I feel like I have always known Barry Recht but have actually never met him. Yet I’ve been rummaging through his clothes for more than three years, mining them for elements that will speak to his poignant years on earth as a husband, father, grandfather, colleague and friend. Barry, an Akron resident and B&W employee, died in 2007. His widow, Linda, found me through the grapevine and entrusted me to create a series of three memorial quilts and a cloth book for their three daughters and herself. I’ve been working on this project for more than a year, beginning in late 2009. I still have one quilt to make and it’s now 2011.
Memorial terrain is fraught with long pauses and hills of doubt. It is emotional work both for the grieving family, which can do nothing but wait, and the memorialist, who does much of the same. There is a delicate balance that must be achieved in the execution of a memorial. Too much joy (for Barry had tremendous satisfaction and joie de vivre in his lifetime) and the piece comes off as trivial. Too much sorrow and its weight becomes unbearable. One badly chosen color can wrench a quilt in the wrong direction.
Yet there are no instructions anywhere on how finesse a memorial. I wait for signs from afar. I pay attention to urges to pick up a piece of cloth that I believe won’t work because it may be a message from my muse. That’s the way it happens, the bit of sparkle, the whiff of inspiration that ultimately brings Barry back to his family via my humble art quilts, if only in cloth.
I perform this important work with a deep sense of humility and gratitude and thanks to Linda.
Please click here to read more about this series: www.conniebloom.com/blog/barry-recht-40-year-old-silk-neckties/51/