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 â€œright pieceâ€ 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 childâ€™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 Forumâ€™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.