Living Outside the Lines is a homage to quilt artist Ann Stamm Merrell, who died of breast cancer in 1999. The artwork is extraordinary, but most fascinating about this web site is the perspective of how an artists work can change and evolve through major struggles of life.
Husband Gregory Merrell writes: In April, 1993, Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer. This had a profound effect on her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It also had a major effect on her quilt making as she began to express more of her anger, frustration, despair, hope, faith and joy through her works. Her style changed significantly as a result of the diagnosis. Instead of the nice neat stay inside the lines and do everything according to the rules (well, mostly) type of quilt making that she had been doing, she quickly began to go outside the lines. Gone were the nice clean edges. No more square corners and parallel lines.
The site features over 50 artworks, arranged in chronological order and grouped by developmental periods in the artists life. The works begin with Triple Rail Barn Railing, a very traditional piece, to emotional, gyrating pieces, such as The Blood of Christ, Adriamycin and contemplative liturgical stoles.
Anns words are highlighted in her Quilt National 97 application:
Much of the content of my quilts now deals with my faith, especially as it relates to cancer. Even in quilts without overt meaning, the design elements… raw edges, quilting outside the lines, slicing through already finished sections… speak metaphorically of my life post cancer. My technique is driven by the need to keep creativity present as far into the process as possible, and to eliminate as much (of what I perceive as) busywork as possible.