21 4 / 2012
Foreclosure Quilts - Kathryn Clark
“My previous work as an urban planner made me acutely aware of how big an impact the foreclosure crisis would have on our cities and towns throughout the United States. However, very little was mentioned in the news.
It was important to me to present the whole story in a way that would captivate people’s attention and make a memorable statement. Making map quilts seemed an ironic solution. Quilts act as a functional memory, an historical record of difficult times. It is during times of hardship that people have traditionally made quilts, often resorting to scraps of cloth when so poor they could not afford to waste a single thread of fabric.
The neighborhoods shown are not an anomaly; they are a recurring pattern seen from coast to coast, urban to suburban neighborhoods across the US. The problem has not been solved, it is still occurring, just changing shape, affecting more of us.”
Kathryn Clark worked as an architectural and urban designer for seven years before becoming a full time artist in 2005. A traditional painter and photographer for twenty years, her studio slowly became full of remnants of yarn, wire and stacks of linen and burlap. One day, she put the paints and paintbrushes away, pulled out the fabrics and began sewing and layering thread.
Kathryn’s work revolves around the wabi-sabi principles of simplicity and awareness of time. Sewing and weaving express the time and effort it takes to create each piece while emphasizing the simplicity of needle and thread. She also writes a blog to inspire and inform other artists who work in the unique genre called Articraft: artists who use craft in their work and craftspeople who make art: www.kathrynclark.blogspot.com
12 2 / 2012
Embroidered Quilts from the Adithi Collective
Exhibit at the Library of the Health Sciences, during October and November, 2003*
Adithi is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting women. Adithi’s mission is to empower a diverse group of Indian women living in poverty. The Adithi project is distinctive for its transformation of the traditional kantha (embroidered quilts) into a vehicle for expressing contemporary social and political concerns, including a broad range of health issues.
Since the 18th century, Indian women have made sujuni kanthas or embroidered quilts. This tradition was revived in the late 1980s when the Indian women’s organization, Adithi, joined the Mahila Vikas Samyong Samiti, an organization in the Bihar State, to encourage poor rural women to design, embroider, and sell these kanthas in order to supplement their incomes. The important theme of women’s collective activism appears on many of the quilts and affects the structure of the quilt-making process, where numerous women collaborate to create the designs, embroider, and provide one another community and support. Although they seek to sell their designs, the women have not shied away from difficult themes.
Based near the village of Bhusura, the quilt project has helped support widows, housewives, and the school fees of children, especially girls. The quilts display figures delicately embroidered or appliqued on cotton or locally made silk. Many of the figures are drawn from the lives of the craftswomen, showing their work, their landscape, and their social struggles. Among their topics are women’s work, domestic abuse, rape, forced prostitution. In this exhibit, the kanthas all illustrate the women’s efforts to improve their health care.
For more information see: Sandra Gunning, “Re-Crafting Contemporary Female Voices: The Revival of Quilt-Making among Rural Hindu Women of Eastern India,” Feminist Studies 26.3 (Fall 2000), pp. 719-26.
*note: After some searching, sadly it looks like this organization is no longer running, but the work it produced is still important.
11 2 / 2012
The Lynch Quilts Project
image and text via: http://blackthreads.blogspot.com
The Lynch Quilts Project is a community-based effort meant to explore the history of lynching and consequences of racial violence. You don’t have to be in Indianapolis to participate - visit TheLynchQuiltProject.com website to learn how you can take part. Specifically - LaShawnda tells me they are looking for volunteers to finish the last 100 blocks (out of 440!) for one of the pieces for the Quilt IV segment.
You can read the December 2011 Indianapolis Recorder article about the project by clicking here.
Lynchings as a theme in quiltmaking is not new. Click here to see April Shipp’s “Strange Fruit Quilt” or Gwen Magee’s Southern Heritage; Southern Shame quilt.