Communal and Isolated Making

I have always treasured moments when I can go to my studio [also the spare bedroom / laundry drying room] upstairs. My life and work is busy and I spend much of it talking or listening [as a mum and lecturer] so the silence that this brings along with the opportunity to draw, paint and make is invaluable.

I have no particular desire to engage in collaborative work as part of my artists practice but an encounter with a video got me thinking. Again, it is with reference to the Gee’s Bends Quilters, in this video I observed women sitting together on porches around a frame. On the frame they had mounted quilt sandwiches and were stitching the layers together by hand. There was chatter, laughter and a lot of singing.

I had done a little research into the way in which quilting groups work, my understanding was that people used it as a time to come together and work on quilts but i had no visual understanding of how this may actually occur.

I was keen to get involved with making as an amateur [making things that I had very little knowledge or skill awareness in] and tried to find out about local quilt groups.  They do exist [through the Quilters Guild] but it became apparent that they did not physically work on the same quilt at one time. Instead they would meet to discuss quilts or on occasion, bring their own quilts and work on them individually.

Having watched this video I wanted to experience what it was like to make a quilt in such a way and so I developed the idea of setting up a group in my local village. having spoken to my supervisors [at that this point it was Dr Lisa Stansbie and Dr Rowan Bailey] it was recommended that I set it up as a case study.

Video Source: Souls Grown Deep Foundation. (2012). The Quilts of Gee’s Bend on Vimeo. Retrieved Feb, 2015.



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