Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quilts for a new baby

The baby's mother is from India; the baby's father is from Canada. This appliqued and embroidered quilt shows a mix of animals associated with both countries. From top: Beaver, Tiger, Elephant, Cat, Snake, Cow, Fox, Bison, Monkey, Caribou, Bear, Moose.

A second quilt, meant more for everyday use was stitched from the remaining fabrics.

The Completed Art Quilt

The quilt has been on display November 15-December 6 in Owen Sound in the Women's House storefront window.

Here is an image of the completed quilt. The final title is "Blood and Roses - a Story Quilt"

A quilt turned out to be the ideal medium for this project. Quilts evoke the warmth and comfort of home and family. Quilts represent the means by which ordinary women have expressed their creativity. Quilting was often – and still remains – a social activity that allowed women to share their stories and to support one another. This quilt challenges these perspectives. It points to the sad truth that home is not always a sanctuary, that loving relationships can turn deadly and that our social networks and institutions don’t always protect us.

I started working on this project in 2010, when I collected written information contained in the ever growing coroners inventory of women murdered by an intimate partner. I then began creating images sparked by some of the reports: a capsized canoe, a house on fire, a burning car, a crashed minivan, a suitcase by the side of the road, pill bottles, a swimming pool, a dumpster, a tractor with bucket, a bathtub....

I keep a creative notebook in which I keep technical notes and comments on the progress of my various art projects. On March 10, 2011 I wrote:

“ The crazy quilt is taking shape. I created 12 squares, each containing an appliquéd centre with an image representing the deaths of the women. Each appliqué is on a plain background of black or drab olive. Crazy patches are from a limited selection of fabrics in a generally sombre palette, with flashes of white, rust, mustard and orange. All the fabric comes from my “stash” and some are recycled e.g. from a dress I made Emma when she was a teen, a jacket of mine, a skirt of my mother’s.. Two fabrics incorporate black roses, a fitting image that I think enhances the mourning component. I have now started hand stitching text around the edge of each centre block. The stitching is in off white to give some unity to the whole and to speak to the innocence of the murdered women.”

The quilt was completed in June 2011 when I recorded my decision on the title Blood and Roses, partly as an ironic reference to the “Bread and Roses" anthem. I’m proud to have spent all those hours and months creating this memorial. I only hope it both honours the women and encourages us all to keep working to end such tragedies.

The quilt has been selected for display at FiberPhiladelphia’s 2012 “Outside/Inside the Box “ exhibition March 2-April 14, 2012.