Misty in the Making © Nneka Gamble

Misty in the Making

Nneka K Gamble

Victoria, Texas, USA

Artist Statement

One morning, my daughter was watching one of her favorite programs, and a commercial came on with a ballerina in a graceful pose, spinning in a music box. Suddenly, the ballerina came to life and emerged as real life ballerina, Misty Copeland!

My daughter immediately rose and did her best ballerina impression. From that moment on, my daughter wanted to know when she could begin taking ballet classes. Months later, I found myself surrounded by little girls, in delightful little leotards and tutus, nervously and excitedly anticipating the moment they would be able to go on stage for the first time.

This quilt is inspired by Misty Copeland, a role model in the world of dance and life, and the first African American woman to become a principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. She serves as an inspiration to all the ballerinas-in-the-making no matter their race, background or age. She is proof that hard work and determination can carry dreams further than one can ever imagine.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Misty Copeland was the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year existence.


Raw-edge and fused applique, hand drawn and painted images, machine and free motion quilting.


Commercial and hand painted cotton fabrics, cotton thread, textile paint, gel pen.