A few years ago, I received a bag of fabric yo-yos from a family member at the funeral for my grandmother— a gift that I thought was both tender and curious. I began collecting yo-yos, receiving them as gifts, buying them at thrift stores, and making many more. I had no idea at the time why I did this except that I find labor cathartic. I often use it to process grief and I am certain that others do too. For me, this work is simultaneously full of sorrow and joy, darkness and light.
Quilts often reveal the circumstances of their makers. While quilts can display access to technology, materials, and leisure time, they also can expose extreme resourcefulness and need.
These original quilts, hand sewn by anonymous makers, and discarded to thrift stores, inspire me to consider those with whom I share the city landscape. I layer these original pieces with geographic data, creating a digitally derived stitched drawing of the topography of a specific location. I address my fellow quilters directly by both quilting my interaction (rather than using other media), and connecting formal elements of their work with the geographic locations I am overlaying. I hope for these playful combinations to be slightly more accessible to quilters emphasizing our potentially shared locations and experiences.
Textiles have topography and they naturally lend themselves to work involving landscape. The socioeconomic landscape in Atlanta is changing dramatically and sections of the city shift to include some people and exclude others. Through spoiling these original quilts I preserve them, and my work is a way of feeling connected in a city that does more to separate than connect us.
This work contains maps of wind occurring in the area surrounding Atlanta: the bands of the jet stream, the prediction of wind direction, and a screen capture of a moment of the gusts themselves. Online data visualizations fill in the gaps of numerous wind speed recordings and radar of atmospheric changes. The construction of this work borrows elements from both drawing and quilting, using linear elements traced from a projection and familiar layered and stitched materials. The day and time depicted are chosen randomly and have no particular significance and this weather event, which surrounded me geographically, was barely perceived.
I am interested in the static mapping of dynamic processes, and the futility of capturing something that is in constant change. In much the same way, the memories that I select out of the continuous flow of experience are incomplete moments standing for an uncapturable whole. Festive snippets of ribbon celebrate an intrinsically unremarkable non-event
I form a mental map of new places by remembering recurring marks, textures and patterns: the spray-painted lines describing underground pipes, the repetitive stencils on a wall. These marks act as my guide when my environment is unfamiliar. I remember these interesting visual notes but I then misremember them, mistake them for duplicates, and find they have disappeared. So, the very thing that I use to find my way in a new place also disorients me, and I find uncertainty in the simplest navigations.
By using digitally printed photographs of these marks I create moments of trompe l’oeil, and through layers of collage, printing, and painting on fabric, I layer textures creating a visual uncertainty. This imagery contains information that is both retrieved and created, using both visual and physical texture, like the enjoyable confusion of an image of concrete and the structure of lace. While grounded in reality, it is also unreal; my documentation is neither truth nor fiction because every mark I document disappears like a breadcrumb, having marked my path before being swallowed by the environment.
I am interested in the way that this form of mapmaking has a dual nature in that I feel isolation as well as connection, communication and miscommunication, orientation and disorientation. These sewn structures become an album, an atlas, an emotional archive, simultaneously recording and redefining my thoughts and experiences. For me, feeling lost or knowing exactly where I am can be equally valuable.