Cortney Philip

That Time it Took my Mom Two Years to Die
felt and embroidery floss
54 x 46 in.

The Dead and Dying Quilts explore the intersections between the personal and political in illness and death.

“That time it took my mom two years to die” is a narrative, contemporary quilt. It illustrates the decay of my mother’s body and mind as she died from lung and brain cancer, as well as the loneliness of traveling hundreds of interstate Amtrak miles to share in caregiving responsibilities. The quilt is made from felt and embroidery floss—the same cheap materials that my mom gave to me to sew with as a kid. Felt squares are indelibly bound with my memories of childhood, being poor, and learning the basic principles of design. In my life, they have come to represent the intersection between embarrassment and education.

Through my quilts, we can all recognize fragments of our own and our loved one’s lives, and we can reflect on how lack of health care access makes us all de facto caregivers.

© Cortney Philip