Daily Color: “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” –Thomas Campbell

My mother on her honeymoon, 1949

Remembering my mother today, on her birthday.

She was born 11 July 1921 in Chicago. Her father was a rare book dealer; he spent months at a time in Europe, buying books, and he always brought back her entire wardrobe for the coming year.

Blossom as a child, mid-1920s

My mother studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and later worked as a commercial illustrator and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, but she gave it up to be a wife and mother in 1949. But still she she made art when she could--Valentines, Christmas stockings, little paper cutouts. She had a loom for a time when I was very young.

My mother wove scarves and table runners

After she died, I found an embroidery that she made many years ago but never finished, a monogram of our surname initial "T".

Since she died three years ago, she has inspired some of my own work. I stitched portraits of both of my parents, based on their wedding photos.

And I am embroidering one of her dresses, vintage 1960s, from a little boutique called Ogee that she loved. I've completed the yoke, and I may continue on and embroider the entire dress.

Going through my mother's office/studio after she died, my sister and I found drawers and shelves filled with art supplies, paper, markers and pastels, thread and fabric, and her old sketchbooks from art school. In part to honor the artist in her, I decided that I would honor the artist in me and concentrate my efforts from here on out in creative pursuits: for the past three years, then, art has been my focus and priority, not just the thing I do when everything else is done.

I think she would approve.

In her late 80s, not long before she died.