The 'She Keeps Her Shears Sharp' Patchwork Collective

A quilt is traditionally created by a woman or many women and is most often used as a blanket, consisting of three layers of textile: a top (patchwork), padding, and a backing. Before the industrial revolution when fabric was scarce the materials used could be scraps of textile retrieved from for example feed sacks or the still-intact parts of worn out clothing. The stitching through all the layers is the binding moment and can take place both in solitude or act as a central event in a family or a community (A quilting bee). The quilt as an object and as a process carries meanings, histories, and complexities in manifold ways, bringing many pieces and fragments together, which in the quilt are then rendered “whole.”

In this project the technique of patchwork and quilting is employed, both practically and metaphorically, as a method of regenerating rather than generating new materials and ideas, and to reclaim a female heritage and mode of creation. The expression of the collection attempts to tear up slim-sportswear aesthetics in order to expand it into the feminine realm. The materials gathered for the patchworks are mainly second-hand and dead-stock sportswear and household textiles, which demand of the design process a curious attentiveness to what already is in existence and a focus on crafting out ways to sustain and reintegrate these materials back into a daily landscape. The practice of patchwork was once a necessity sprung out of scarcity but could today be considered a proposition for dealing with excess.

This collection aims to explore ways of assembling many “patches,” contributed to the project by nine female friends and fellow artists coming from different artistic backgrounds, where their works and mine share commonalities in topic and expression and thus together creates a larger patchworked quilt. The ‘She Keeps Her Shears Sharp’ Patchwork Collective emphasizes the strength of many voices coming together, destabilizing the illusion of the artist as a single stroke of “genius.”

An “open quilting frame” is present during the graduation show, where visitors are invited to join me in stitching.