A response to a book titled The Artist & The Quilt

The Artist & the Quilt is the name of a book in which I found a postcard with an image of a quilt. The front cover shows a quilt made collaboratively by the editor and her research staff and has images of the makers hands and their names. The book describes quilts as “a diary of touch.” Focusing on these elements of hands and touch, I made a number of blind drawings of my hand. These were then turned into stencils which, with a homemade gelatine printing plate, were used to make monoprints on an old sheet. Using old black fabric, I hand stitched proverbs and quotes related to hands and quilted them together with the monoprints. This work addresses the expressive quality of hands and the meaning we apply to them. Hands symbolise power, blessing, strength, friendship and community. They are tools and weapons and uniquely human. My quilt hopes to convey the expressive nature of the hand while also speaking of traditional female work. The reference book, published in 1983, highlights the historical role of women in quilt making and how this practice has blurred the boundaries between craft and art. One could perhaps say that women of this era took quilt making ‘into their own hands’.