Sunday, July 06, 2014

Collage of the heART

This is a post I didn't really want to write about - but I want to document this quilt, and tell a bit about the very special person I made it for.

Bruce Greene was THE art teacher in my school.  His wife Susan taught elementary school art, and Bruce taught Junior High and High School.  We are talking small school here - graduating classes of approx 55, and K-12 all in one interconnected building.... often riding the same school busses to and from school.

Everyone had the Greenes as teachers - even if you didn't study art in High School (like I didn't), you at least had 2 years with Mr. Greene in Junior High.

And he was good! He was one of those teachers that left a strong impression in his students.

Unfortunately - I learned about a month ago that Mr. Greene was very ill and not expected to live much longer.  3 months, I was told.

My immediate response?  Make a quilt.  My next thought? Make a quilt and ask my siblings to contribute their own thoughts and blocks to it.  Then I got this crazy idea to jump on Facebook and ask all my classmates, my school mates, Mr. Greene's former colleagues, friends - anyone who wanted.

Send me your blocks.  Send me your names.  Send me whatever you want - and I will be sure it gets into this quilt.  Just send it FAST!!!

And they responded.  The depth of emotion, the creativity, the trust they put in me to put together their words into a tribute to a beloved teacher... it was a surreal couple of weeks as I put this together.

I mailed it out on Monday, June 23rd and it arrived on the 24th.
12 days later I received the news that Mr. Greene had died.

But he spent some time wrapped in our "Collage of the heART" - wrapped in gratitude, admiration, and love.

Thank you, Bruce and Susan Greene - you planted the seeds of my art, gave me roots - and then gave me wings to fly.

Soar high!


Unknown said...

What a wonderful gift you gave back to your friend and teacher.

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful tribute! I am sure his wife will treasure it.

Susan Greene said...

Indeed his wife does treasure it. As I spread it over him on what proved to be his last day, it felt like a tangible loving prayer. He may not have been able to fully experience its power but I think he understood what it was because I had tried to be sure he knew it was coming and what it meant. Certainly it moved me.

Regina, you and the contributors did a great and wonderful thing for both of us, and words can hardly express what it does mean to me. If he were able I know he would say the same thing. A teacher's greatest reward is learning that a student's life has been enriched and enabled under his or her influence.