Ever since I can remember, my little sister Heather has been sewing. (This really isn’t true, since I remember when she was born.) Using the fabric scraps from my mom’s projects, she would sew little blankets for her dolls, and small presents for our parents. Now that she’s an aunt, she sews little bags for Lily and Emmy. The bags arrive filled with gifts; books and ribbons and stickers; all the wonderful trinkets little girls love. So it was no surprise to me to see Heather sewing scraps of fabric together every time I saw her this winter. But I was surprised to see what she made those tiny scraps of fabric into.
I received a postcard in the mail a few weeks ago; Heather was collaborating with her good friend Nicholas Nyland and her students at Bradley University to create a special installation and exhibition. This was an art opening I couldn’t miss, so I packed the girls in the van and headed to Peoria.
When we arrived, we found a wall in the shape of a spiral extending from the inside to the outside, draped with quilted fabrics of all colors and textures; there was a doorway and peepholes and little creatures hiding in the patterns. Lily was excited to spot the same fabric that her sister’s bookbag was made out of in this huge, quilted piece. At first, I told the girls DON’T TOUCH! Heather reassured me and said when they were creating this installation, she imagined the girls running around and playing in the exhibition. They played for the whole two hours of the opening, touching, exploring, laughing, twirling, and taking breaks to eat cookies. (Yes, art openings usually include food!)
Heather was quoted in the local paper:
“While this exhibition is not about the history of quilting, there is a tradition of saving things that can be used, and that’s part of what we’re doing here,” Brammeier said. “We usually think of fabric as a feminine material and part of the feminine arts. This is not going to be limited that way. It’s not going to be a feminist piece. But it is going to incorporate those qualities where we think of fabric as comforting.”
If you are in the Peoria area, and would like to see this exhibition, click here for more information: From the Inside Out.
Hurray for kid-friendly art!