My Battle with Parkinson


I know it’s not good taste to open a communication with an apology, but I’m known for not following the rules—plus my taste buds are diminishing as my Parkinson disease progresses. So I apologize for not keeping you up on the more important aspect of my life: working on my art.

Since my last post, I have completed three additional works for “My Battle with Parkinson” series.

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 1

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 1

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 1
Size: 22″w x 22″h
Materials and techniques: Cotton fabrics hand-dyed by Liz Axford and the artist, polyester quilting thread; machine pieced and quilted

Statement: When I inherited beautiful hand-dyed circles by my friend the late Liz Axford, it gave me the opportunity to combine them with some of my fabrics to portray “Balance.” Losing balance is one of many Parkinson symptoms as the disease progresses.



My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 2

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 2

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 2
Size: 22″w x 28″h x 28″d (approximate depending on arrangement of the 4″ cubes)
Materials and techniques: Fabrics hand-dyed by the artist, Pellon fusible ultra-firm stabilizer, polyester and silk quilting thread, pearl cotton, X-Bet Ferrite magnets, permanent markers, Gorilla crystal clear mounting tape; machine pieced, quilted and couched, hand assembled

Statement: “Balance” problems have been an increasing concern as my Parkinson disease progresses. In this piece, I went three-dimensional to portray these concerns, which range from stable to very tippy.


My Battle with Parkinson: Singin’ the Blues

My Battle with Parkinson: Singin’ the Blues

My Battle with Parkinson: Singin’ the Blues
Size: 25″w x 23″h
Materials and techniques: Cotton and silk fabrics hand-dyed by the artist, polyester and silk quilting thread, wool thread, permanent markers; machine collaged, appliqued and couched, painted with markers

Statement: I’ve been a singer (alto) since my youth. I especially enjoyed singing with ensembles and choirs. I mourn (am Blue) that Parkinson has robbed me of my singing voice. But I still love music, everything from classical to jazz.

The past three days I’ve taken a break from quilting and have been experimenting with some resist dyeing. Yesterday’s work resulted in grades of 2 B+ and 6 C–, meaning they need re-dyeing. I was using the last bits of some old dyes. Like many of my experiments, if at first I don’t succeed, dye, dye again.


3 thoughts on “My Battle with Parkinson

  1. Melisse, so sorry to hear about the Parkinson battle. I can see it hasn’t interrupted your determination to be an artist, and certianly hasn’t hampered your artistic imagination. Look forward tofollowing more of your posts and work.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Melisse. I think I told you that my husband, Eric, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a couple of years ago and I have another friend who had to give up beading as well as retiring early from teaching science to high schoolers because of her Parkinson’s. I really appreciate your beautiful work about balance. Right now Eric is on medication for his Parkinson’s, which is helping his tremors (right now the tremors are just in his right hand). Unfortunately, he also takes medication to regulate his blood pressure (too low when he does exercise, like coming up stairs, of which we have a lot up to our front door–to the extent that he sometimes faints & falls, which really scares me). These two medications have to be constantly balanced by all his doctors because one was affecting the efficacy of the other (I don’t remember which was affecting which right now). It’s been quite a journey! So thank you again, Melisse, for sharing your journey.
    Love, Gloria

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