My Battle With Parkinson: Balance 1


Parkinson’s disease has surfaced as the fastest-growing “movement disorder.” I am one of the nearly 1 million people in the United States who battle this disease. Among the many symptoms that I deal with is balance. Through medication and exercise, I can slightly reduce my balance problems, but they will stay with me until I die or a cure is found. More information can be found at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

One of my art quilts, “My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 1,” is being featured in a publication and has been juried into a Surface Design Association (SDA) Washington regional exhibit. In addition, “Balance 1” will be featured in the seasonal mailing from the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation beginning in December. When I was notified, the editor made the following comment: “This is such a striking pattern; the colors and fragmentation actually unite our message as an organization for people with Parkinson’s.” If you would like more information, contact the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation.

“Balance 1” has also been juried into the “Surfacing” show. This online exhibition, which was open to all SDA members and the public, can be viewed on the SDA website.

Eight of us participating artists were joined by jurors Gail Harker and Francesca Piñol  in a conversation recorded on November 15. You can watch the hourlong conversation here. I’m the first slightly nervous artist to speak.

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.


5 thoughts on “My Battle With Parkinson: Balance 1

  1. Melisse , your artistry is such a strong force that it’s no surprise that it won’t be defeated. Congratulations on the recognition you’ve achieved for your work. Keep me in the loop as you go from triumph to triumph. I sorely wish you didn’t have to battle Parkinson but you are giving it a royal kick in the crotch.

  2. Melisse, you’ve done a masterful job as usual. I can see in the juxtaposition of the half circles being just a tad off-kilter how it makes you feel dealing with your balance. The vibrant colors are marvelous though. Wishing you continued success with the exhibit!


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