The Precious Years

For what seems like the entirety of my young son’s life, I’ve been in an extended period of multitasking. How to best give, take, prioritize and spend my time is an endless equation. Most of my life, and therefore this work, exists at various stages of completion. It speaks to a mother’s anxiety– imagining the future in the present, where language, visions and fears are not yet fully formed, but are most certainly taking shape. I suppose that this work then, is an attempt to elevate something that shapes every move I make, but doesn’t really matter much to anyone else.


These paintings and accumulations may physically appear disjointed and incongruous from one another, but they are all born from caregiving. The quilted works evoke comfort, warmth, tradition and the legacy of women’s work.  A pile of carefully arranged clothes recalls folded laundry and piles waiting to be picked up. A collection of daily daycare reports makes visible the amount of care given by someone else, in my own absence. The implied passing of time subtly references a point at which my care will no longer be needed.


In many ways, this work is also a family portrait of the years preceding the defining moment when our son becomes aware of his religion and his race. It’s a celebration of his freedom, his innocence, the care we provide him with, and the days we have together before his inevitable awakening. The gratitude I feel for this time is immense. Overwhelming. Physically handling the clothes and fabrics found in my home, helps me hold it and touch it. Gilding allows me to preserve it. Hand quilting helps me visualize it. Collecting helps me remember it. I want to bask in this resplendent glow, hold time here forever, and live fully in these fleeting moments. 

©2020 by Jessica Wohl.