Monday, December 5, 2011

Flower Children

When I was young, there was a book called Mother Earth’s Children: The Frolics of the Fruits and Vegetables on the shelf that I guess actually belonged to my aunt Alta, and was later returned to her. It’s funny what memories stick with you from childhood.

Published by P.F. Volland & Company, the copyright date is 1914, and it must have belonged to Alta when she was little. As I recall, it was somewhat tattered but still holding together.

It was a book of four-line poems, each one about a different fruit or vegetable, with accompanying illustrations. They ranged from the commonplace, such as the Apple, Pear, and Orange, to more exotic ones, such as the Truffle, Oyster Plant, and Carrageen.

When I was in my twenties, I was browsing at a crafts fair and there was a vendor selling pages from this book that she had cut out and matted. I bought a few and gave one to each of my sisters.

Later on, I think sometime in the 1990s, I was in a quilt fabric shop and saw some fabric that I recognized immediately as being based on this book. Or so I thought. On closer examination, I saw that the images on the fabric were not fruits and vegetables, but flowers. Of course, I had to purchase some yardage!

With a little research, I discovered that the author, Elizabeth Gordon, had collaborated with illustrator M.T. Ross on two other books — Flower Children: The Little Cousins of the Field and Garden ©1910 and Bird Children: The Little Playmates of the Flower Children ©1912. She had also written Wild Flower Children: The Little Playmates of the Fairies, illustrated by Janet Laura Scott ©1918.

Around ten years ago, I came across this great website called Alibris, where I purchased vintage copies of Mother Earth's Children, Bird Children and Flower Children. Wild Flower Children was also available, but too expensive. As luck would have it though, a publisher called Derrydale Books had reissued all four books and I was able to purchase Wild Flower Children at a reasonable price. These are still available through Amazon.

But with no further ado, here is the quilt I made from the six panels included in the fabric design, along with close-ups of three blocks and their corresponding page from Flower Children. (If I recall correctly, the fabric was part of a line from In the Beginning fabrics.)

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