Savanna’s Gift

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Savanna’s Gift from James Helms on Vimeo.

Mothers pass on many things to their daughters; their wild hair, the family china, an amazing banana bread recipe. By chance, Savanna Pettengill found herself with a small box of half-finished quilting projects that were abandoned when her great grandmother was moved to the Alzheimer’s unit of a new assisted living facility.

The small box moved with her from apartment to apartment for years until her great grandmother passed away. When she took the box, filled with small acrylic crochet squares out of storage she was inspired to finish the project that her great grandmother had started.

As a photographer, caught up in the stressful flurry of finishing college and about to face the working world as an artist, Savanna was drawn to working with her hands to process the loss and the guilt of missing her great grandmother’s funeral due to finals.
As she started to piece together the brightly colored squares, she began to realize that there are also things mothers pass on that are less visible; their passion for music, the way they clean their house, the hope of finding love, and often insecurities and fears.

The simple art project took on unexpected meaning as the loss of the family matriarch exposed the family’s complicated relationships. The project itself became a reconciliation, a way of saying the impossible and reconnecting mothers and daughters.

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