am interested in the basics of existence: food, landscape, shapes,
coverings. These quilts are an homage to my Quebec heritage and
the rich quilting tradition found there. Most notably in recognition
of my great Aunt Berthe who, along with her sisters, was an amazing
hand sewer, and whose quilts filled our house. I loved the designs
on them. There used to be a yellow quilt on my bed.”
the barriers of class, age, and ethnicity. They are tangible, tactile
records of women’s lives. Every quilt has its story, reflecting
the personality and passion of its maker. Each day the stories continue—a
quilt is completed, another is begun and a centuries-old tradition
of quilting has as many sides as the complex patterns of the quilts
themselves. It is practical in its use of discarded fabrics, nurturing
because a person is kept warm and cozy by the product, and there
is also a dark side in that many young girls were forced to quilt
until their fingers bled to keep their hands from being idle. From
the depression era there are heartwarming stories of women from
poor struggling families that made quilts, only to donate them to
other, even more needy families. Women sewed messages in quilts
that contained information for the Underground Railroad, and others
embroidered spells to bring bad luck to their husbands.
is an expression of skill, and a source of empowerment. The patterns
can be very sophisticated. Stars, log cabins, tumbling blocks, etc,
and original designs are often complex and difficult to execute.
For some women, like my ancestors in Quebec, Canada, warm quilts
could mean survival for their families.
like quiltmakers, are also skilled at creating patterns, are resourseful,
and the majority of the bees are female. The symbol of the bee goes
back to ancient Mesopotamia, where the Bee Goddess was worshipped.
She was appreciated for being industrious, fertile, and for producing
nectar that was extremely desirable. The Oracle at Delphi was shaped
like a beehive, it would transmit universal truths through the strictly-female
sage. Many millions of bees (from all over the continent) labored
tirelessly to create the raw “fabric” for this sculpture,
replacing the multicolored fibers (from all over the world) that
might have been used in a traditional quilt.