Pansy's Hexagons, Honeycombs & Grandmother's Flower Garden by Elsi Vassdal Ellis

With my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins living a continent and ocean away in Norway, I realized I had shared more conversations with my grandmother-in-law during annual pilgrimages to Indiana to visit my husband's family than my own grandmothers. She sparked my interest in women of her generation, and of life during the Depression. Although she worked with her father on his farm until she was 15, she did not inherit the farm. Instead, her farming life was the dutiful wife who followed her husband as he worked on five different farms in east central Indiana between 1920 and 1936. She gave birth to five children losing her son, Story between 1915-19. She wouldn't speak of it. She did not speak much of her husband, only stating "he was a hard man." Her story from 1898 to 1936 is presented here in a hexagonal format, one of her favorite quilt shapes. None of the photographs are of her or her family but are from the unconnected family photographs that end up in the trash or antique shops. This version of Pansy's Hexagons is the paper edition. Click here to see the deluxe cloth edition. 

Artist Bio

Elsi Vassdal Ellis creates books in a well-equipped studio outside Bellingham on 20 acres of what was once part of the Buckholtz Homestead. Born in Fallon, Nevada, in 1952, she spent her formative years in Iowa City, Iowa, before settling down in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1983 she has produced over 150 editions and 120 unique books employing a variety of reproduction techniques and materials. Her work is permanently housed in many public collections including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, New York City Public Library, Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Grabhorn Collection in the San Francisco Public Library, and Arts of the Book Collection in the Yale University Library. Western Washington University has been her professional home since 1977 where she holds the rank of full professor and teaches courses in design production and (occasionally) book arts.