Blocks

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May 2021.

This block was made for a community quilting bee hosted by Laub, an artist in LA. The theme for this 3rd annual quilting bee was Our Envisioned Future. More info about the final piece will be posted soon, but for now, you can read my artist's statement for this block below.

Our Envisioned Future

I think a lot about museums and the work they do to bridge the past to the future, anchored in the present moment of the visitor’s experience with the exhibits. There are some institutions that do this well, and some that really struggle (and ultimately fail) to pull it off. I’d like to live in a future where we, whether institutionally or personally, hold the painful truths of the past with curiosity, understanding, structure, and respect. In choosing to approach this project with a focus on my own personal story, I wanted to use this opportunity to address some challenging aspects of my past, and then come up with a way to reframe the story for myself in a new way. After all, we need to look at how we used to do it in order to do it differently moving forward.

I wanted to use the pink and blue scraps because they are connected to a past relationship that ended very poorly. The cream colored border piece is a bit more complicated. Perhaps the most painful personal textile I own is my own baby blanket, which I have in my closet and absolutely couldn’t bring myself to cut for this block, even though it is tattered and wouldn’t be much affected by my taking a piece. I still wanted to include a representative fabric, even if I couldn’t get myself to cut from the original source, so I found something that reminded me of the lining of my baby blanket.

In combining these elements (the blue and pink representing a mother figure and partner who are no longer part of my life, and the off-white from “my” baby blanket), the finished piece has turned into a commentary on gender, motherhood, and what we show vs. what we conceal when it comes to gender expression.

In this present moment of my life, I am able to look back on my past when it comes to these ideas and see myself with compassion: a young person who was struggling with identity, working to achieve love from others based on conditions surrounding gender performance, and learning to live with the unmet desire to simply be cradled and held “as-is:” that is, complicated, fluid, undefined, imperfect, and non-binary. I’ve decided to call the final little square the Baby square, because of its use of traditional, gendered baby colors, quilting patterns, and textures. I am hopeful and grateful for the idea that as we move forward into our future, the gender binary can melt away into a more free-flowing format of expression, existence, and being.

This little square is held up in the structure of a larger square that is meant to function as a picture frame. I struggled with how to construct and design something that would “hold” the image in the center, although I think I might have overthought it and made it more difficult for myself than it needed to be. The future that I imagine is one where we are interconnected and share our resources, knowledge, and skills freely in the spirit of mutual respect. I also included fabrics that feature written text and composition notebook patterning to represent that our stories can be told powerfully through writing.


I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have worked on this project. I am so excited to see how others approached the theme, and how our pieces will fit together in one quilt. Cheers to a beautiful, authentic, and sustainable shared future!