“Families are like quilts - many pieces working together to form a complete design.”
Pat Drew

The message is universal, Pat has created art that evokes memories about relationships and families by capturing moments in history and integrating designs of quilts and family photos. The layering technique that Pat used to create these works allows light to play within each piece. The compositions are mixed media, based on old family photographs, many of which have been interwoven into quilt designs, the common thread throughout the series. Every time you look at the work you see something you missed the last time. Faces and characters continually emerge from the designs and draw viewers to look again and again.

Pat Drew has taught thousands of Atlantans about art, she retired 5 years ago after teaching in Fulton county schools for 41 years. In “retirement”, she’s had more time to explore her own creativity than ever before, inspired by reflections on her life and her loved ones, Pat began to create the American Family Quilt series. Her first paintings were based on her own very large and diverse family, native Georgians and Atlantans.

Pat’s father’s family home, a simple country house in Gay, Georgia and the Drew family photos were the subjects of many of Pat’s paintings. However, as she worked, Pat began to realize that all families possessed similar characteristics and she began to explore additional collections of family photographs. She’s created numerous “Quilts” of various families including Black Americans, Immigrants, and American Indians.

“Pat has interwoven a sense of place and time, personal feelings, and socio-cultural aspects of our shared and remembered experiences,” said Mr. Larry Walker, Professor Emeritus in Art, Georgia State University. “The unique complexity of her methodology effectively bonds with the subtle articulation of content in her work.”

The Drew family still owns the home they’ve owned in Gay, just South of Atlanta in Merriwether County for more than 200 years. The house and the family generations that grew in it have been witnesses to rich history from the Cherokee Trail of Tears to General Sherman’s Army, WWII and the Depression. Pat’s father was one of 13 children born to “Grandmamma” and “Grandpapa” Drew who grew up in this house. The Drews have celebrated their family with annual reunions, capturing their legacy in photos each year. The house, the photos and the stories behind them served as Pat’s inspiration.

Pat’s mother, Ruby Clyatt Drew also touched many families as she taught in Atlanta Public Schools for more than 20 years and was an active member of Park Street Methodist Church. Ruby met Pat’s father, Levi Collie Drew when she graduated from Young Harris College and moved to Gay to teach school. The couple married and moved to Atlanta. Pat and her sister, Laura Lee grew up in West End.

Both sides of my family made quilts,” Pat said when asked about the ideas behind her work. “My Grandmother Drew created a special quilt for my college dorm room. My Grandmother Clyatt created patchwork quilts from old fabrics and elegantly embroidered around each piece. There are quilting hooks in the ceiling of the front bedroom in the Drew family home 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.”

When asked, “what’s next?” Pat wasn’t sure but she is excited to find out. She has been overwhelmed by the interest in her series and has been approached by many with boxes and bags full of their family photos, asking about commission work. She’s currently looking for photos and reference materials to support her newest concept, inspired by the bravery seen through the September tragedies - a tribute to fireman, policeman and rescue workers.

Twenty paintings from her American Family Quilt series will be on view through January 2002 in Gwinnett County at the Hudgens Center for the Arts, in the Fowler Gallery. The show will run through January 2002.

Hudgens Center Curator Lucy Elliott is very excited about Ms. Drew’s work. She says, “Pat’s Quilt series is one of the most creative, soul searching expressions I have ever come across. These mixed media pieces not only seep with history – the individuals have a story behind their eyes – these stories come together as a whole family history woven together.”

The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts is solely supported by corporate and foundation grants, and by individual patrons and membership. It consists of the Children’s Arts Museum, the Kistner and Fowler Galleries, the Weeks Sculpture Garden, two art gift shops, and state-of-the-art educational facilities for all ages

The Hudgens Center for the Arts is located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, one block west of the I-85 and Sugarloaf Exit #108 in the Gwinnett Civic and Cultural Center complex. The Museum is open Monday thru Friday, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM and on Saturdays, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM.