QUOTEQUILT is a resting place for body and mind. It’s a safe place to decelerate, decode, and digest. There’s something very soothing and human about a quilt, composed of parts that have their own histories, just like I do. Its physical presence is affecting, but so is the process of meticulously and methodically making it real. With such sudden and widespread adoption of social distancing and the transition from real-space to digital-space, clinging to comfort is orienting: little scraps of the old familiar feel like treasures, and the wrap of a quilt like a hug.
Self-comforting in fabric and text may or may not be enough on its own. At twenty-four, Christopher McCandless wrote, “Happiness is only real when shared”; there is sharing in the living history of quiltmaking. To bring this concept to a local grade school community during uncertain times through co-constructed paper quilts in my piece’s sister work, The Paper Quilt Project, is an act of returning to finding comfort in each other. For ARTE 301: Curriculum, Assessment, and Art Education, I had the pleasure of working with a group of third graders on the topics of comfort and quiltmaking. Translating my own art into a lesson plan that became The Paper Quilt Project was a challenge and a joy. Working within our limitations and the huge ability and ideas of these students, we created paper quilts built from squares designed with comforting words and images, and exchanged by each student for each student. It’s an honor to present these works together with QUOTEQUILT and credit these artists for their big ideas and big hearts. For the rest of us, “The quieter you become, the more you can hear” (Dass); taking the time to really listen to these voices can reveal so much. Their participation in the artmaking community is their right, and the community is all the better for it. I am all the better as an artist because of it.