Debra Svitil, a part time elementary school teacher from Alpharetta, Georgia, was chosen to create a portrait quilt of First Lady Laura Bush. The quilt was presented to Mrs. Bush on the occasion of the Congressional Club's 100th Anniversary Luncheon in Washington, DC on April 17, 2008. It was commissioned by Alfredia Scott, wife of Congressman David Scott of Georgia and the chairperson of the event.
Mrs. Scott placed a call for designs to be submitted for her consideration through Arts Clayton Gallery in Jonesboro, Georgia. Debra knew immediately that she wanted to create a piece that would honor Laura Bush, the individual, and highlight her dedication to furthering education - specificlly her idea that childre's reading is a gateway to further things. She found the perfect quote from Mrs. Bush that embodied this ideology and built her concept for the quilt around that quote:
A love of books, of holding a book, turning its pages, looking at its pictures, and living its fascinating stories goes hand-in-hand with a love of learning.
She began by painting the portrait with fabric inks and paints. She then quilted Mrs. Bush's head and shoulders using more than 30 different colors of thread. Mrs. Bush's love of country is reflected n the overall background motif - a stylized stars and stripes from the American flag. Having lived in Texas and knowing first hand the strong sense of identity Texans derive from their state symbols, Deb utilized blubonnets (the state flower) when making the stripes. Woven among the bluebonnets are other symbols of Texas; Monarch butterflies, pecans, an armadillo and even a longhorn!
Deb was there for the presentation of the quilt and met Mrs. Bush. She feels honored to have been chosen to create this piece of art for the First Lady.
To visit Debra Svitil's website, click here.