I've been on the Board of Directors of my local women's shelter for the past 4 years. Every year we set up an installation - "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Shoes" - in various public places in the community. Pairs of shoes, each representing a woman (and sometimes her children) are displayed along with information about her situation and the manner of her death. Unfortunately every year new pairs of shoes are added to the display. Despite our best efforts, women and children continue to die at the hands of their intimate partners.
I've long been haunted by some of the images evoked in the installation and have thought long and hard about how to to present them. I won't describe the thought process here, but the concept of "a terrible beauty" led me to plan a crazy quilt. Viewed from a distance it will look like a fairly traditional quilt. Approach it and you will see embedded images that represent 12 of the women. The intent is to create something beautiful that will honour these women without glossing over the disturbing reality.
A work in progress: 12 appliqued images each in a pieced block. Each block approximately 18" square.
A work in progress: Detail of block. Applique, hand and machine stitching.
Right now the piece is set up on quilt frames while I work on hand quilting and beading some sections. No predictions as to how long this phase will take.....