Process Statement: Story Quilts
Whether I am creating a story quilt with a single person, or in
collaboration with others, the design and fabrication of a story quilt
is a journey of shared vision and fabrication that spans years if not
decades. I strive to express wisdom that arises when people are co-
creating better lives, relationships, communities, and organizations
that nurture new possibilities.
My artistic process seeks what Carl Jung called “healing images” to
capture, express and inspire journeys of personal and communal
change. Unlike words, art is a universal language; I believe that symbols, pictographs, and images can speak to the hearts and minds of all persons. Used in workshops, visual imagery can help participants envision a path to a more desirable future for themselves or those they serve. Used in large-scale story quilts, symbols can express both our unique imaginations and the values we share. The quilts I create, alone or with others, build from the images, stories, and textiles of many people and cultures. While I hope they succeed as works of art, I am even more concerned that they help create a sacred space where people can come together to celebrate individual capacities, engage in conversations that let all voices resonate, and create common bonds that inspire activism.
In using art-making as a metaphor, I do not in any way intend to gloss over the difficulty that invisible and labeled people and their allies face. We have not yet achieved the beloved community; the heartbreak of injustice can be crushing and the difficulty of “mere” day to day living, for those with disabilities and other challenges, immense. Instead, I want only to affirm that co-creative engagement can help people both find a way out of no-way, and connect to others who are committed to fashioning a world that is more nurturing, more empowering, more beautiful and more just.