Our world goes to pieces; we have to rebuild our world. - Anni Albers
This is a story of a loss of faith. Of a world going to pieces. Of longing. Of bodies and hands, of knowing and not knowing. Of rage and helplessness and hopelessness and hope. Of solidarity and strength. Of cutting things up and stitching them back together.
The thread running through my work is a constant impulse to rend and repair; to make, unmake, and remake. This repetitive and circular approach allows me to confront the cyclical nature of gendered oppression. What does it mean to make something beautiful and then to dismantle it? How do we reckon with the pieces that remain? By deconstructing the beautiful and lovingly crafted objects that I spend hours making, I recenter “craft” as a verb rather than a noun, forcing myself and my audience to resist the comforting illusion of certainty.
I contextualize my piecework and quilting in a long line of American women who have wielded needle and thread to speak truth to power. Textile production and creation have historically afforded female-identifying folks and people of color the opportunity to gather, spin yarns, and patch together survival strategies, whether in the form of literal quilted maps to the Underground Railroad or metaphorical whisper net(work)s tracking sexual predators. Informed by intersectional feminist studies, my research plumbs the confluence of quiltmaking and language, both encoded and overt. By pushing my quilts into three dimensions and rendering them unusable through deconstructive gestures, I challenge the simplistic associations of nurturance and dutiful feminine industry bound up in the form.
I approach my studio as a laboratory- a place to ask questions and seek answers, knowing full well that through my experiments I am likely to end up with more questions than answers. At the bedrock of my practice is a deeply essential sense of curiosity. What happens if I sew fabric to cardboard? If I treat paper like fabric? If the seams are all that remain? This endless questioning is the thread that runs through my life and work. I am interested in the moment when minds are changed, convictions are abandoned, and the world tilts toward nuance.
My practice is rooted in craft, in honoring the inherent qualities of a material and endeavoring to make something well. I resist, wholeheartedly, the hierarchy that prioritizes intellectual knowledge over the tacit. Craft materials and techniques offer fertile ground for confronting the misguided Western notion, all too prevalent still today, that thinking solely with one’s brain is inherently superior to thinking with one’s hands. I believe that textile crafts, as the media least reified by the fine art establishment, hold a potent ability to challenge the capitalist, sexist, and colonialist assumptions propping up the false dichotomy between mind and body, between art and craft, between those who are permitted to speak and those who are silenced.