MELODY GORDON HEALY | healyquilts.com

ARTIST STATEMENT

Melody Gordon-HealyMelody Gordon-Healy is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and a fabric artist. She lives in an early 20th century home in Baltimore, Maryland.

As a young girl, Melody loved to make clothes for her dolls. As a young woman she became fascinated with the history of quilt making and with the methods used in dating these early works of art. She began to receive invitations to give slide lectures on varied quilting topics. At the same time she began to hear a challenge from her husband” “when will you make a quilt?” And thus the fun began.

Quilt Making: as with many quilt makers her early quilts were done for her family and she stitched scraps of family clothing into works which narrated history and marked family events. Seminars, however, with Michael James broadened her field of interest. She turned to her own African-Puerto Rican-American roots for themes and objects which could be translated into fabric beauty.

The Spirit of the KamiTravel: as the borders of her interest widened she traveled with a quilting friend into the Amish country of Pennsylvania to learn their use of fabric, color, design. Her Amish quilts won her an invitation from the sister-state committee of Maryland to travel to Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan to teach Amish and Baltimore Album quilting, and this same committee commissioned her to quilt “The Spirit of the Kami” for the Governor of the prefecture. Her success in Japan led to further invitations to conduct workshops in Bangkok, Thailand, in Singapore, in Newcastle, England and in Cork, Ireland, the ethnic home of her husband. Melody’s quilts hang in all these countries and in Indonesia, Belgium, and many U.S. cities. Recently, she was commissioned to make two quilts for Loyola College in Maryland; this commission she cherishes since it came from her hometown.

Not only has Melody had the privilege of bringing her art to several countries but she has learned much from each area which she loved, visited, or worked in: Amish discipline, Baltimore jazz, New York hutsba, Yokahama stitching, Bali batiking, Chang-Mai orchards, Tibetan tent doors, Haitian voodoo, Asiago flags, Ashanti dolls, West African masks, Seminole fur, feathers, and beads.

Teaching: although Melody is primarily a quilt maker, her husband often describes her as a teacher at heart. Although she has lectured and run workshops in Asia and Europe yet it is in the Baltimore area where she has done most of her teaching: Loyola College in Maryland, the Community College of the City of Baltimore, Baltimore City’s Commission on Aging through the Maryland Institute of Art, the Maryland Historical Society, the Baltimore Museum of Art and local churches and civic groups.

In her quilting, fabric work, lecturing and teaching Melody reflects what the National Museum of African Art in Washington said about an Ethiopian sculptor, namely, that artists who travel or live in exile become “individuals (who) are released from the constraints of tradition and are often able to gain a greater sense of self and artistic vision from the knowledge of multiple cultures, histories, and realities.” Melody has been fortunate to move across rural, urban, national, and international borders. Her journeys have enriched her works: “how did this poor girl from Baltimore get to travel so far?”

Affiliations

  • Co-Founder of Baltimore City Quilters
  • Historian for the Baltimore Heritage Quilters Guild
  • President of the Loyola College Quilting Guild
  • Consultant for the Maryland Historical Society
  • Lecturer and Instructor at Loyola College In Maryland

Services Available

  • Teaching
  • Commissioned works in Fiber
  • Lectures, Workshops, Demonstrations in the mode just mentioned
  • Consultations on Group and Community Projects

© 2003 - 2004 Melody Gordon Healy; Some rights reserved. This site was last updated on 9 December 2003. Site design by T. W. Thorpe.