Susan Leslie Lumsden, Clearwater, FL

The Power Of The Spoken Word


As soon as the challenge was presented I knew I wanted to convey the idea that what is said to a child can be just as scarring as physical damage. All too often one hears things said that absolutely chill one to the bone in realizing its potential damage. Yet, even if said in public, very few onlookers would say anything to a parent or report it as abuse. Why is that? If you saw someone beating a child you would take a stand.

When I was working on this quilt I asked others for their input on phrases they'd heard. Many were absolutely heartbreaking. Though not pleasant, I included them just as they were given to me.

The design has significance. I used the triangle to show the firm foundation and strength of the affirming word because it is the strongest structure in nature. I deliberately had the flow of the words going toward the abused child making him smaller and isolated. That is what verbal abuse does ­ introverts, destroys self-esteem and isolates.

I found this piece challenging and important. It made me confront many areas ­ design, technique, as well as coming to the delightful conclusion that although I had many disagreements with my parents as a teen, I never was truly abused. So it was a growing experience in many ways. Thank you for putting this opportunity out there for us.

29.5 X 41 inches 

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