Dawn (Left Illinois for California, April 15, 1859)

January, 2015

Dawn (Left Illinois for California, April 15, 1859)

Anna Von Mertens

Dated 2007

Artist Anna Von Mertens used research detailing the position of stars in the night sky to create Dawn (Left Illinois for California, April 15, 1859).

According to Von Mertens’s website, the title for this originated from a 19th century quilt inscription. The Hezlep and Shuey families noted the date and occasion as they embarked on their three-month journey to California from their homes in Hamilton, Illinois. 

In her artist statement, Von Mertens said:

 “(I’m) exploring the rift between past and future, portraying events. I use the stitch to follow these trails, tracing the paths with my fingers. The dotted line of hand-stitching is a marker of uncertainty, a way of exploring. The time invested in making the work, allowing for contemplation and internalizing, becomes a part of how the work is viewed. I see all of these elements as a form of mapping, reflecting the need to get my own bearings in this vast universe.”

This quilt will be featured in the upcoming exhibition Getting to Know You, which opens in June at Quilt House. It is now on display at Sheldon Museum of Art in "Things Speak."