Women’s Work

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.front

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 identity that all of us share is quilter.

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A quilt is an object of comfort, the product of outdated concepts of women’s work.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.

quilting

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.

detail

Let’s get to work.

pollingplace

At my polling place in NJ