FAMILIES have always been puzzling to me. What made them act the way that they did? How did they get that way? What did I have to learn from them? Why did they matter to me?

I come from an extremely large and very diverse family. My father had 12 brothers and sisters - my mother had 7 sisters. Each family had its own personality and gifts to give. I have received both the good and bad that each had to offer. The Drews are passionate, and dramatic, filled with conflict, and generally cantankerous. The Clyatts, my mother’s side of the family, are nurturing, honest, reflective and quiet with a stubborn streak.

Both sides of my family made QUILTS. Grandmother Drew created a special quilt for my college dorm room. Grandmother Clyatt created patchwork quilts from old fabrics and elegantly embroidered around each piece. In the front bedroom of the Drew family home there are quilting hooks in the ceiling, where neighbors gathered for gossip and stitches - creating, from small bits of cloth, whole designs to delight the eye and give comfort to the body.

In many ways FAMILIES are like QUILTS, each piece fitting into the other to form a multi-faceted complete design. My paintings incorporate many layers of transparent paint, transfers of photographic images and quilt pieces, fitting together to form a cohesive composition.

I have combined the format of quilts and the perceptions of families in my paintings. While working on the Drew and Clyatt family paintings I realized that our country is comprised of a lot of family groups that merge into the rich fabric, which we call America.

THE AMERICAN FAMILY QUILT is a body of work about families.

I hope as you view these works:
that the process intrigues you.
that you will want to return again and again to look.
as you examine my paintings you will find relationships pertinent to your personal situations.

Pat Drew


My sources for research and photographs have been: Family archives, The Library of Congress, Ellis Island, Americans All, and the Georgia Archives.

I used photocopies of photographs, which were pertinent to my main subject to create a paper quilt which I laminated on a canvas, then painted with transparent paint.

I then used an enlarged photocopied image of a single photograph to obtain a transparent photo-transfer.

This image was laminated on top of the quilt then using transparent paint in layers, created my painting.