My grandmother, Virginia Loretta Gillin, was my mother’s mother. She birthed 5 BIG boys and 2 girls and had a hard life during the depression. She was widowed with 7 kids and later lost her daughter, my mother, when my mom was only 44. Though deeply scarred by both deaths, she never wavered in her matriarchal hold on our family. My grandmother was the most genuine person I have ever known.
I remember her warm, bear hugs and her sharp tongue. I remember canasta on long summer nights. I remember her honky-tonk piano playing. I remember a surplus of southern food on the table that I have never been able to duplicate. Rock on my bawdy Grandma. I love you.
If you’d like to hear more about Virginia, read…
This piece was inspired by the poem “Born” by Wislawa Szymborska. (Sorry, I couldn’t find this particular poem of hers online for the entire text):
“So this is his mother.
This small woman.
The grey-eyed procreator.
The boat in which, years ago,
he sailed to shore…”
“Virginia” was created using Prismacolor pencils for the figure’s face, arms and hands. Her hair was painted with iridescent 3D paint. The dress was beaded with Swarovski crystals, a multitude of beads and a blazingly red, dichroic glass heart that speaks of the infinite love she was capable of during her long life. Her heart is pierced by an arrow—an indication of the heartbreak she endured. The ornate blue dress portrays her solid and genuine spirit, the white lace collar, her girlish side, which I loved.