Artist Mimi Babe Harris

Cover of Love Means Second Chances

Statement by the artist

Who would have thought, when we were young teenagers in an upstate New York high school, that one would write a book and the other would design a cover for that book?

Sue Davis and I reconnected at our 25th high school reunion, addresses and phone numbers exchanged, with an understanding that if I were in New York City, we would meet for coffee, and if she needed a break, my home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia was open to her. We kept in now-and-then communication, and after I moved to Montana, Sue called. This was not about a visit, but about designing a cover for her recently finished book: Love Means Second Chances.

“Send me a synopsis and a couple chapters, and I’ll see what comes into my head,” I said. I read Sue’s email immediately when it arrived. The story of three generations of women in one family, facing a crisis of unplanned pregnancy, spoke to me.

At the time I had been working in fabrics: purses, toys, quilts, and floor-quilts. A quilt design was my first response as quilts have come to be a symbol of our lives: a soccer-themed quilt for a grandson who plays soccer, flowers for a great aunt, horses for a daughter, wildlife for a grandpa, and the endless possibilities of remembering lives and events. Also, quilts are not only beautifully pieced fabrics, but they are something that wrap us in comfort and warmth . . . something the women of this story needed.

Thanks to e-mail and the USPS, quilt designs were sent back and forth in the colors that Sue requested: pink, purple, and light blue with a red heart. By chance, I sent a picture of a recently finished fabric floor-cloth with a large white daisy on a dark quilted field. That was it! A large pink coneflower, whose center became multiple small red hearts, placed on a light blue and purple quilted field seemed to make itself. There it was — a flower, a symbol of spring, of the growing season, of new life.

The cover design is constructed, not drawn or painted. Each petal, square, and heart was cut and pieced and then glued to a 27” x 18” twelve-gauge canvas. Batik is usually my fabric of choice so I used it in this design. The production of batik fabric involves coloring and waxing in many layers. In the end this adds a depth of color and pattern to the finished project. Then I painted it with acrylic fabric paint to further enhance and define the pedals and hearts. The surface was treated with Polyacrylic so that it could be placed on the floor as a utilitarian rug. The act of building the image was an important part of this design as it reflected the story of the building of these three women’s lives.

I am honored that Sue asked me to design the cover. This is an important must-read for women . . . and men.

 

2 Responses to Artist Mimi Babe Harris

  • Barbara says:

    You 2 West High girls have created something wonderful.
    Your beautiful daisy cover and the title of the book are made for each other.
    Mimi, I saw one of your chairs on FB and looked up your Design page. I’m so glad I did. Over the years, I wondered where you were. I remember your Mom and Dad and brother Tom. Your Mom helped us make this WH Day Can-Can skirts and remember Down on the Farm.

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