Margit Olson © Birgit Ruotsala

Margit Olson, Lady of Love

Birgit E Ruotsala

Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA

Artist Statement

Margit Louisa Olson
August 9, 1956 to May 25,2014

Margit Olson, born with Trisomy 21 Down’s Syndrome was not personally famous on a grand scale, but she was a trailblazer her whole life and gives face to those born with mental and physical disabilities.

The word cloud that surrounds her in this quilt highlights the sentiments of those who knew and loved her. Her artwork which borders this quilt was sought after by friends, neighbors and family. She showed her work in several exhibitions and won awards for her sense of color and pattern.

She is part of what is good in this world. Her face reflects all that the human condition can achieve that is positive: love, generosity, tenderness, boldness, creativity, perseverance, compassion, kindness, humor, a sense of adventure, integrity, and a spirit of innocence. According to the National Down’s Syndrome Society, one in every 691 people are born with Down’s and Margit gives face to people that each of us know.

I lift this woman up as a person who achieved all that she set out to do. She lived life to the fullest and strove to achieve excellence in all she did with the capabilities she possessed. She was a role model for many children growing up in her midst. Her accomplishments may seem small in our world, and yet, she blazed trails for many Down’s Syndrome people who followed her in the education system, in Special Olympics, in her social setting and in her faith community.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Margit L. Olson made it her mission to pursue excellence in everything that she did, touching lives and blazing the trail for others with Down’s Syndrome to live full lives.


The initial image was a scanned photo. The scanned image was lightened and then printed on fabric. Details were first put in with thread painting. Then paint, markers and colored pencils were used to fill out the color. The word cloud was designed on the computer and printed and added behind the portrait to describe her. The border was another scan of the artwork of Margit, herself. It was printed, pieced and quilted.


Cotton fabric, printed images, inktense colored pencils, textile paint, cotton thread.