Her quilts tell a story that weaves through the fabric of experiences of all mankind. Her artistry speaks of our history, our triumphs and our weaknesses. For this reason, Edna Pattinson-Petty’s work is extolled not only in her hometown or even America, but by people in foreign lands, such as Beijing, China; Senegal, Africa; Ottawa, Canada; and Islamabad, Pakistan, who identify with her work which exemplifies ‘the human condition.’ Whether it is her latest quilt, created to educate on the deadly 1917 Riots of E. St. Louis, which symbolizes the cruelties of mankind; or her quilt, “If it Wasn’t for the Women,” which was constructed to represent the strength of all women, there is a visceral connection to her art that supersedes religious, ethnic and racial boundaries. Her works speak a universal language that isn’t muddied by words. She says of her gift, “I know that my creative ability is of divine inspiration, because I dream art, I feel art, I get excited when I am around art, and through my creations I reveal my internal world.”
Though she is known for her quilts, one of which, “Road to Redemption”, was exhibited in Washington D.C. for the celebration of President Obama’s Inauguration, her artistry extends beyond fabric work. She has works displayed throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area. She created mosaic tiled benches in Jones Park in E. St. Louis. When the Southern Illinois University, E. St. Louis (SIU-ESL) campus was built, she was commissioned to create the beautifully sculptured turtles which adorn the campus. “A Whimsical View” can be seen at Lambert-St. Louis International at Gate A8. To create this piece, which she describes as “a deconstructed quilt,” Mrs. Patterson-Petty was chosen as one of only nine artists to travel to Munich, Germany to study with the esteemed Franz Mayer & Co., known internationally for their glass artwork.
She has received many awards, such as The Grand Center Visionary Award, Community Art in Education Award, the NAACP Arts Award, a Community Arts Award, and many more. In 2010, she was honored by her alma mater, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with the SIUE Wall of Fame Alumni Award.
A life-long resident of E. St. Louis and a graduate of SIUE with an M.F.A. in Textile Art and an M.A. in Art Therapy, Mrs. Patterson-Petty says that she has always wanted to be an artist. She says of art, “To me, art is being able to take things that others throw away or discard and turn it into some things of beauty or some things of interest — just being able to take a mundane situation or a mundane thing and turn it into something viable and just give things life.” To fellow E. St. Louisans, she would advise, “Know Your History”; and rightly so as it is filled with Legends such as Edna Patterson-Petty, your Local Legend.
Find more see Legendary East Saint Louisans by Reginald Petty and Tiffany Lee on amazon.com.