Just a quick note before we start: this September, I'll be teaching a one-day workshop at Fiber College up in Maine. I'll also be taking a workshop with the Gees Bend Quilters! Very excited. Check it out at www.fibercollege.org
Map of Hometown Perceptions (45"h x 56"w) early art
A young man once told me that he is afraid to go into neighboring Paterson, with it’s mostly African American population. I’m an older woman, and feel no such danger. I started wondering if I could use my quilting to explore subconscious feelings and prejudices. This map explores the perceptions we develop about our homes and our neighbors. Most of the materials were obtained at garage sales found in places on this map.
I grew up in Clifton, pictured here as the all-white, fiercely non-integrated community of my childhood – the borders are tightly sewn with measuring tapes. Now living in the much more interesting city of Passaic, I sewed in layers of Jewish, Hispanic and African textiles. The neighboring town of Nutley is presented with a police badge, reflecting my son’s view of it as a highly regimented place. Elmwood Park had a huge paper factory, so there's a piece of handmade paper sewn on to show the location.
West Paterson is seen as merely a rise of ground – growing up in the shadow of Garret Mountain, I had no idea what lay behind. When I was very young, it seemed like the end of the earth to me. A school uniform badge shows the location of the Catholic school where I endured the first 8 years of my education.
One section of Passaic is marred with soot, representing the big fire several years back.
East Rutherford is usually described as a blue-collar town, so a slightly reconfigured collar from a denim shirt worked. The only thing I can tell you about Wallington is that it has that big bowling alley (I wonder if it's still there?). Rutherford is considered nicer.
Why the pink border? Because I think many of us view our hometowns through rose-colored glasses.