Throughout history women have gathered for quilting bees, contributing scraps of fabric to create something of beauty, while sharing a sense of community.
For this project, I asked 30 women, friends and family, to provided me with a scrap representing their lives. I did not give them any direction on what that scrap should be, I limited them only to size. They knew only that their scrap would be incorporated into a public art installation, a collaged quilt. I also asked them to write a brief statement of why this scrap represented their life.
The items they provided amazed and touched me. Their comments were funny, thought provoking and intelligent. Some women spent a great deal of time thinking about the project and we had numerous exchanges. A few knew immediately what they would submit, and sent it within days. Others spent weeks trying to come up with just the “right piece” using this assignment as an inner journey. Still others, selected several scraps and debated which should represent them, while one friend had difficulty identifying anything.
Among the precious items I received were a dried flower from a wedding bouquet, a bit of fabric from an only child’s baby blanket, an inspirational quote which changed a life.
Replacing conventional fabric and needlework with paper and 3 dimensional objects, I worked each item into a quilt square which tells a story about that woman, be it a historical moment or a day to day frivolity. I assembled the entire quilt with clear line, a tribute to the invisible yet strong network women have created to support each other.
This project was installed in the Contemporary Arts Forum’s Glass Box in Santa Barbara. It is not for sale, but remains in my collection. I have included a few of my favorites quilt squares to share with you.