I’ve been very interested in depicting windows in my quilts lately, but after the presidential election in November, all I could think about was a ceiling.
This window is a glass ceiling. The glass is cracked but not broken. The pane design is inspired by theJacob Javits Center ’s glass ceiling, under which there could have been a victory celebration on November 8, 2016. It represents the mourning of her loss and the obstacles that still prevent the achievement of feminist goals. It is also about looking through a window that is broken, that distorts and warps the way we look at our country and our fellow Americans. What does it mean to be a woman in America now? It is about identity and perspective and protest.
I thought about quilting a ceiling that is cracked but not broken using improv piecing and sashing, chaos held in by structure and status quo.
It seemed like such a huge task. I started to talk about the idea with some quilters I knew and realized that it needed to be a group effort. Suddenly, the project felt both more manageable and heavier with meaning. Both were positive shifts. This quilt is not just about my perspective but those of a group of women with varied experiences and identities.
I reached out to twelve quilters with whom I had previously talked about the election to make improv blocks in a muted glass-inspired palette. They each also chose fabric unique to them that represents their feelings in the election’s aftermath.
My collaborators, in alphabetical order, are: Jeanine Bowen, Aleeda Crawley, Sarah Fader, Ashley Hinton, Karin Jordan, Alyson Olander, Krishma Patel, Melissa Quaal, Michelle Reiter, Virginia Robinson, Anne Sullivan, and Kitty Wilkin. We are from states that went red and blue, some narrowly and some not. We are of different religions, races, abilities, and careers. The only identities that all of us share are quilter and woman.
A quilt is an object of comfort, the product of outdated concepts of women’s work. But this quilt depicts glass shards and the rise of a sexual abuser and bigot. It represents the ambition and desire to achieve the symbolic milestone of female leadership and equality through traditionally domestic practices. We can seek both power and comfort. We can use “women’s work” to address issues of women in the workplace. We look beyond our heartbreak and toward the work of the future. We have so much work to do.
There is much more to say and share about this quilt, as well as many more pictures to take, so consider this post an introduction. I want to thank my collaborators for their ideas and stitches and support. I think I can speak for the group when I say it was a therapeutic project. It has taken more than five months to come together, and now that it has I am so excited to share it.
Let’s get to work.
This is stunning! I love your use of color for the glass, it really depicts broken glass reflecting light at slightly different angles really well. Beautiful collaboration!
I’m so glad you made this quilt, I’m proud to be a part of it, and I look forward to seeing how this evolves, transforms, empowers, and shapes forward movement. We have a lot of work to do, indeed. ❤ But we are stronger together.
A powerful post, a powerful quilt and a powerful message! So glad to be a part of this in a small way! Thanks!
That quilt is so beautiful!! As beautiful as the philosophy and the message it communicates! You guys have created something very special!!
Your writing is heartfelt and as beautiful as the quilt you and the collaborators produced. It is an amazing piece of art. Thank God for people like you who can fill my eyes with such beauty. Thank you.
We felt for you here in the U.K. This is such a powerful quilt as well as being absolutely beautiful. I hope its message is communicated far and wide.
Women’s work, indeed! You describe the meaning and feelings behind the quilt so eloquently, and the quilt itself really evokes the meaning. A huge thanks to you Melanie ! I was thrilled to be a part of this process.
Stunning quilt project!!… Beautifully, eloquently described!!
*Thank you!*, Melanie!!… Therapeutic for you to create… and for me to behold!!
(Gives another level of meaning, to quilts giving comfort!!…)
Thank you, Melanie. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful project. I find it hopeful to see this collaborative response to such a troubling event. The quilt is beautiful.
This is a wonderful collaboration. The shards and reflections are powerful, as is the fact it is captured in a quilt.
Your quilt is stunning. I look at it maybe differently than some younger people would. I am seventy three and I see the divide in equality that has taken place with the recent election. I am old enough to look back at how hard women have had to strive for their place among men. I feel like we are being shoved back fifty years. Your quilt brought tears to my eyes just thinking about all you young women out there. Now we need to be stronger than ever. And love seeing your post. Thank you.
Thank you for putting in fabric what so many of us wabted to see happen in November. I think this quilt should travel throughout the USA.
Your quilt is overwhelming with beauty, symmetry and eloquence.
Let it tour America.
“Why not” said Mike Mulligans’ Maryann!
This is fabulous! Your use of that Netorious fabric is perfect. It just shines. I really hoped we would break that ceiling.
Melanie, this is just WOW! It’s very moving and fitting that it was a group project. We will survive, together.
What a beautiful quilt and also a sad truth to stitch out. Thank you for making the idea a reality. The concept of women’s work combined with protest is powerful.
Beautiful work! Thank you to all who participated. Women will change the world.
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