Making The Comfort Last

The hardest part for the customer is to decide which shirts to put in the quilt. The number of shirts determines the finished size of the quilt and they are all individual.  Usually, I receive 20-30 clean shirts. The images on the shirts determine the size(s) of the blocks. I combine smaller images such as pockets into larger blocks. The shirts are cut down, interfaced and the top designed and sewn together. The design is the hardest, yet most creative part for me. I like to find ways to make the quilts interesting such as pockets made to look like flag banners or the Cubs baseball shirts set on point as diamonds. Then, the backing is chosen and I have the quilting done by a long-arm quilter. This is a person with a large machine used solely for this purpose. I get the quilt back and trim and bind it by hand.

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Threads of Resistance

Threads of Resistance

The Threads of Resistance art quilt exhibition was organized by the Artists’ Alliance.

Our statement begins:

“Art has always expressed both the hope and fear of its time. As artists speaking through our quilts, we come from a long tradition of political activism. The first known fundraising quilt supported the abolition of slavery. Quilts through the past two centuries have spoken to many causes, including the Temperance movement, women’s suffrage, nuclear proliferation, and AIDS awareness.

Just as quilts are traditional symbols of comfort and healing, our art can help us unite as Americans. Our quilts let the fearful know they are not alone and isolated in their struggles. Our quilts can inspire us to be greater and braver than we think we are. Our art speaks for those who are oppressed and have no voice.”

Not everyone will approve of this exhibition. I understand and respect this. As a member of the Artist’s Alliance, I think it’s important to acknowledge my support for the project. No matter how you feel about the project politically, consider visiting our website and listen to statements from artists whose work was accepted for exhibition.

It’s also important to know a couple of other things about the project:

  1. Not all work was accepted, but the opportunity to show all entries on the website, was offered. Important to know that not everyone agreed to this. Yes, some artists have been threatened and chastised for participating, which led to fearful withdrawal. That feels very wrong.
  2. Others have withdrawn because of complicated and challenging copyright issues. The members of the Artist’s Alliance who dealt with copyright issues took the laws seriously. They have invested a great deal of time and energy to do the best they could to get this right; protecting artist entrants, but also protecting the host organization.
  3. There are mean-spirited comments and blogposts from conservative individuals (and quilt makers) and I guess that’s not a surprise. We all know ugliness can come out of any mouth. No political party has a corner on that market, as we have seen this week after the shooting of a GOP congressman. Evil is not political.

What I wish we could do next?

Organize an exhibition entitled Openminded: The Best of Both Sides. 

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