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Sovereign Sun

Primary Source Description #1

Posted OnSeptember 19, 2017 06:54

CategoriesAIDS Quilt, SourceDescriptions

The Quilt panel I have selected is dedicated to José Louis Garcia. The panel stands out in block 1768 with its vibrant scarlet red background and the rectangular assortment of a plethora of fabric patches in the middle. It is 6 feet wide and 3 feet tall (about 183 cm by 91 cm). The background material feels like a soft polyester comforter and it slightly reflective look. It is oriented horizontally (landscape) and placed in the middle of the right side of the block. It has a very personal and handmade feel.

[1] A picture of block 1768.

The rectangle of patches is placed in the center of the overall rectangular panel and takes up most of the area. The margins from the rectangle to the edge of the panel are 14.5 cm wide on every side (about 5.6 inches), which is about the height of an average modern smartphone. Above the rectangle of patches, at the top middle of the panel, the name “JOSÉ LOUIS GARCIA” is written in all capital, black, and bold letters that are hot-glued on the background. The font is a handmade geometric sans serif. On the left side of the patches, at the middle left side of the panel, Garcia’s birth year “1962” is written vertically (from top to bottom). A similar black font is used as before, but the numbers appear a bit sloppier and handmade than the letters, and are sewn on to the background. The same stands for the writing of his year of death, “1991”, which is positioned on the opposite side of the patches, at the middle right of the panel. The top of the arching arm of the “6” is a bit wider than the base stem and the circular bottom seems a bit small proportionally. The straight-down legs of the “9”s are inconsistent among each other and have varying widths. These small details showcase the personal effort that went into this memorial.

Positioned underneath the patches is presumably the name of the region Garcia was from, “GALICIA SPAIN”, written with the same black font as the text above.

[2] A map of Galicia, Spain.

Next to the word “SPAIN”, there is a small sentence that says “I love you Ron” in embroidered letters with a thin black thread. The font is a formal cursive serif and the letter lines are thin. The letters are very small in comparison to the panel, being about 3 cm tall (about 1.2 inches).

[3] A close-up picture of the text “I Love You Ron”.

The horizontally-oriented rectangle of patches in the middle dominates the panel with its colorful and diverse square pieces of fabrics. The rectangle is formed of 6 rows and 14 columns of square patches, which have white fabric-covered buttons (they look like the tops of flat thumb tacks from above) connecting the squares on their corners. The squares are about 10.5 long on each side. However, in the center of the rectangular array is a larger square patch that covers the are of 4 regular patches. This makes the total number of small patches 80, instead of 84. The large central patch covers the area of row 3 & 4 on columns 7 & 8. This central patch has a plain jet black background and has a sun in the middle covering most of the area. The sun is made of a reflective silver nylon material (looks gold under warm lighting) and has stuffing sewn in to make it stick out.

[4] A side view of the central patch. The sun is sticking out.


Many of the square patches use material from the same piece of cloth, so they have been grouped together to simplify the process of describing and identifying individual patches. The table above shows the type of material which corresponds to each patch according to their row and column position (the “C”s represent the larger central square). The material type descriptions are provided in bullet point format to enhance readability.

  • Type 1: The square is a patch of soft cotton with a background of very thin vertical stripes of smoke and iron grey lines. On top of the background are 3 thicker vertical stripes of charcoal grey with solid white vertical lines near the edges and dotted white vertical lines on the borders. The material might have come from a pillowcase.
  • Type 2: The squares all come from a white sheet that had depictions of colorful cartoon style leaves with thick black borders. The colors of the floral patterns alternate between navy blue, candy red, daffodil yellow, azure blue, and sage green.
  • Type 3: The squares patches of cotton with a gingham pattern. The background is white and the vertical and horizontal stripes are semi-transparent dusty rose pink. The stripes overlap where they intersect, causing those areas to become more opaque. The stripes are very close to each other (less than 0.5 cm apart), causing the pattern to look hazy or blurred from afar. The patch could have come from a table cloth since it resembles a typical picnic cloth.
  • Type 4: The squares seem to be made of a charcoal grey wool trench coat. It has a smooth and soft feel, meaning that if it is wool, it is quite old. It also could have been a patch from a suit.
  • Type 5: The squares have the same design and color scheme, but are mirroring each other in relation to the vertical axis (the left side and right side are flipped). The square on column 6 and row 1 has a series of vertical stripes. From left to right they are: a 1.5 cm thick dark hickory stripe, a 2 cm thick black blue stripe, a 3.5 cm thick burgundy stripe, a 2 cm thick hunter green stripe, a 0.2 cm thick grey stripe, a 0.2 cm thick lead grey stripe, a 0.2 cm thick cloud grey stripe, a 0.2 thick ash grey stripe, and a 0.2 cm thick black stripe. The same pattern is on the squate at column 10 and row 3, but from right to left.
  • Type 6: The squares have a paisley pattern defined by muted dark colors. There are many depictions of floral concepts such leafs and flowers. More about the paisley design can be found here [Wikipedia – Paisley (design)].
  • Type 7: The squares are made of a cut-out patch from a pair of dark-washed denim blue jeans pants. The texture feels a bit rough, but the material has softened over time.
  • Type 8: The squares are made of a woven carpet. The strings used in the design have various shades of white, grey, brown, and green. It feels rough and rugged due to the stiffness of the material and the formation of uneven bumps.
  • Type 9: The squares have a dark maroon background with dark burgundy grape leaves in the curved “fleur-de-lis” shape embroidered as decoration. The material feels like cotton, but is meant to give the impression of silk. It most likely came from a table cloth or drapes.
  • Type 10: The squares are pure white cotton patches with brush-stroke-like horizontal stripes in the colors of mustard yellow, mauve, and cadet blue. The soft texture and pattern suggests that the patches came from bed-wear.
  • Type 11: The squares are cotton patches with a pure white background and decorated with opening buds of flamingo pink roses.
  • Type 12: The squares are jet black patches of cotton and may have come from a formal tuxedo or suit.
  • Type 13: The squares are patches of cotton with a window pane pattern with beige lines going horizontally and vertically on a white background. The parallel lines are about 1.7 cm (about 0.67 inches) apart from each other on each side, therefore forming squares. (Opposite of Type 34)
  • Type 14: The squares are made of black blue polyester patches which have vertical columns of separated dots going across them. The dot colors alternate from berry red to plain white for every column.
  • Type 15: The squares are patches of the same scarlet red comforter as the background.
  • Type 16: The squares are patches from a very dark pine green cotton shirt. At the top right of the patch on column 3 and row 6, some fragments of white printed words appear, but only the year “1981” can be made out.
  • Type 17: The squares are patches of cotton with a black blue background. They are decorated with abstract shapes formed of thick semi-transparent white lines which are mainly horizontal. The shapes resemble very distorted triangles or bees.
  • Type 18: The squares are patches of sky blue cotton.
  • Type 19: The squares are pieces of reflective silver nylon.
  • Type 20: These squares seem to have been part of a cloth depicting a scene with a flower. The flower is a yellow hibiscus with orange petal edges, white stamens, and a cherry red pistil. The background is ivory white.
  • Type 21: These squares seem to have been part of a cloth that had a combination of many different pattern styles, such as plaid, calico, arabesque, and medallion. The main color scheme used includes ivory white, olive green, umber brown, golden beige, tan beige, and coyote brown.
  • Type 22: These squares are made of a Spanish grey patch of cotton, most likely from dress pants.
  • Type 23: The square is made of a piece of a smoke grey bath towel. It has very small soft bristles that make the towel feel slightly fuzzy when touched.
  • Type 24: The squares are made of maroon red pieces of polyester.
  • Type 25: The square is made of a cotton patch with a mainly pink chintz floral depicting cherry blossom flowers and petals. The background has a muted passionflower pink color and the floral designs use unsaturated hues of pink and white.
  • Type 26: The square has a faded sky blue background and is decorated with small cartoon tulips. The tulips all have green stems and have different color combinations: yellow and red, white and yellow, red and white.
  • Type 27: The square is a black piece of cotton with sporadically sprinkled with cyan blue and lime green sparkles.
  • Type 28: The square has a berry red cotton background decorated with roses made of golden sparkles.

[5] A picture of the sparkles seen on squares (1,4) and (1,5)

  • Type 29: The square has an ikat chevron pattern with colors varying between navy blue, sky blue, beige, pine green, tea earl grey, and berry red. This image is an example of an ikat chevron pattern.
  • Type 30: The squares are patches of plain beige cotton.
  • Type 31: The squares are patches of pure white cotton. The material might have come from a dress shirt.
  • Type 32: The squares are patches of honeydew green cotton.
  • Type 33: The squares are patches of a burlap material with a scalloped pattern. The square of column 4 and row 3 has upwards pointing scallops with shades of onyx black, beige, onyx black, cedar brown, onyx black, and Appalachian brown (in that order from bottom to top). The square of column 12 and row 1 has scallops pointing to the right with shades of orange, navy blue, beige, pigeon blue, beige, and caramel brown (in that order from left to right). This could have been part of a rug or a decorative blanket. It has a rough texture, but the material feels more soft and flexible than expected.
  • Type 34: The squares are patches of cotton with a window pane pattern with white lines going horizontally and vertically on a golden beige background. The parallel lines are about 1.7 cm (about 0.67 inches) apart from each other on each side, therefore forming squares. (Opposite of Type 13)
  • Type 35: The squares are patches of metal black cotton, probably from dress pants.
  • Type 36: The squares on column 13 in rows 4-5 are cotton patches with a floral design. The top square displays two canna lilies and the bottom square displays a carnation.  The bottom flower has cobalt blue petals with white trims. In the top square, the petals are daffodil yellow on the outer edge and vermilion red on the inner part. The center is white and yellow. There are also many shamrock green leaves surrounding the flowers. The background is jet black.
  • Type 37: The square is a cotton patch with a floral design, displaying a peony flower. The flower has flamingo pink petals and a turquoise and cyan blue ovary in the middle. It is surrounded by brown leaves and the background is navy blue.

[6] A photo of the entire panel from above.

Here is a video taken by me showing the panel (taken at the NAMES Project Foundation in Atlanta):


[1] Image of block 1768 provided by the NAMES Project Foundation through the AIDS Memorial Quilt search. Image URL:

[2] Embedded map of Galicia, Spain provided by Google Maps. Map URL:,+Spain/@42.7985623,-8.5781231,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0xd2e7c868908156b:0xe1ac7930138c9642!8m2!3d42.5750554!4d-8.1338558

[3] Picture of small text (“I Love You Ron”) on the panel taken by me (John A. Taylor). Taken on 9/20/2017 at the NAMES Project Foundation HQ at Atlanta.

[4] Picture of the center of the panel taken by me (John A. Taylor). Taken on 9/20/2017 at the NAMES Project Foundation HQ at Atlanta.

[5] Picture of sparkles on panel taken by me (John A. Taylor). Taken on 9/20/2017 at the NAMES Project Foundation HQ at Atlanta.

[6] Picture of the entire panel taken by me (John A. Taylor). Taken on 9/20/2017 at the NAMES Project Foundation HQ at Atlanta.

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