Osnabrück Textile Square Challenge

The Thirty Years War ended 375 years ago this summer with the Westphalian Peace treaty. To celebrate, sister cities of Osnabrück, Germany will assemble a collaborative textile exhibit.

Osnabrück has 11 sister cities, which one is Evansville Indiana, my hometown. Evansville has been a sister city with Osnabrück since 1991.

Artists from the sister cities are asked to submit a 20 x 20 cm (approximately 7 3/4 x 7 3/4 inch) square. The squares will be exhibited in Osnabrück this summer. According to the guidelines, entries should represent something the artist associates with happiness, or makes the artist happy.

I thought about it. I find a lot of things make me happy, but would I want to convey to the residents in this city far away? I decided to send Spoonflower some pictures of my iries and other flowers since the garden does make me so happy. Here is what I got back on those two fat quarters.

I realized right away that these irises are way too big for this small quilt.

Before I go any further, Osnabrück is not just any city in Germany. My great grandmother grew up just 20 miles away in Südmerzen before immigrating to the US. This is an area I’ve been researching for the last couple years. I’ve found many of my ancestors through online Germany Catholic church records, which can be challenging to read. Challenging not just because they are in German, but because of the handwriting. Through this research I found, and have been emailing my 3rd cousin who lives close by in Merzen. My great grandmother’s husband, my great grandfather, grew up 67 miles from the city.

Here is a picture of great grandfather, Theodore Heines (born Hayens Baltjens) and my great grandmother, Margaretha Maria Kaiser Heines. I found this in my aunt’s scrapbook I inherited after she died. (Even though she and I went through her scrapbook together, I can’t believe I never asked about them, and stories she might have heard from her parents.)

From my research I found that Theodore arrived in the US in June 1847 with his pregnant wife (Tecla Knipper) and their two-year old son. Tecla died in August shortly after giving birth to their baby girl, who also died. Somehow, Theodore found Margaretha and they were married the following January at Holy Trinity in Cincinnati, Ohio. Margaretha married not just Theodore, but took on raising his young son. They moved to Evansville, Indiana in the late 1850s, where they raised their family.

Now to start working on this piece. I cut up three of the large flowers.

Now to audition them. Here is my first try.

I liked that but a bit too much white. Then I added the pink flower.

I liked that but because I have to admit that my genealogy also plays a big part in my life, I needed to add something to this about Margaretha. So just for placement, I printed out the above portrait and put her in the piece. Looks like she’s photo bombing my garden!!

I will need to print her out on fabric, and then sew this up, but I think this is it. This combines three things that make me happy – my art, gardening, and genealogy! I’ll show you the finished piece in the next week or so.

It’s beginning to look like Spring here. Here are few pics of what is coming up/and or blooming.

That’s all for now. Now that I’ve made the decision about my square for the Osnabrück challenge, I am excited to finish it.

Have a great rest of the week!