Sunday, May 1, 2016

Accordion in Blue

When I was 7 or 8 years old, my mom decided I should learn to play the accordion, influenced no doubt by Myron Floren of The Lawrence Welk Show.  I would have preferred braces or even the piano, but clearly an accordion was more portable.  For this Four-in-Art reveal, color: music, I knew it was time to revisit this experience.  And since I "hear" music, all kinds, in blue, the was especially fun.

The only picture I have of me with the instrument is of my first recital and it's a black and white, yet I remember the scene in color and with all the sights and smells of that Spring evening.  For this reveal I copied the b/w photo onto PFD fabric and then began the tedious task of adding the colors I remember - my dress, the corsage, those flower baskets.  I used various pens, pencils and crayons, heat setting when done.  When copying, I did a black to white conversion, hoping to get just this perfect line impression.

When it came time to quilt, I added a bit of depth with line quilting the floor and a portion of the accordion.   For some movement I added flying geese made with Liberty London prints which worked well with the Allison Glass blue background.  

And as luck would have it I happen to have a resident accordion -  no, not mine from childhood, rather one shipped to me from a friend in Washington state (had belonged to her grandmother and she just needed more room in her closet for shoes! - how could I resist?!).  

My feature song for this recital was "How Much is That Doggie in the Window" so on the back I included a cameo of a doggie as well as the label with musical notes.

My life as an accordion player lasted for about 4 years and in later life I realized what a wonderful experience it really was!  I played at local festivals, was the lunch time entertainment at my elementary school one Christmas and credit that exposure with an attitude of "I can do just about anything".  When conversations drag, I have been known to pull out the " accordion card" and it picks up immediately!


  1. Betty-
    I love this quilt, and so fun to reveal your hidden talent of playing the accordion! We have a family member on my husband's side that plays Lady in Spain at every family gathering (we even have YouTube videos of him if you are every interested in a fellow accordion player), and you are so right--it does make the whole party much more lively!
    I love the illustration--such a great thing to add onto this quilt--of you as a young girl. That really makes this quilt so personal. Love it!

  2. Betty this is such a great quilt, with a wonderful personal story.
    Do you really hear blue? I mentioned in my post about studies that Oliver Sacks did on Synesthesia - you might be interested in his book about it.
    I love that you can pull out the accordion card to liven up a conversation. Sounds useful!

  3. Great to revisit a personal experience like this. Such detail in colouring the photo and bringing it to life again.

  4. I love this quilt and I really enjoyed your story. Your picture from the photo is wonderfully executed and very beautiful :)

  5. I love this quilt and I really enjoyed your story. Your picture from the photo is wonderfully executed and very beautiful :)