When You Hold Me I Can Sleep

Nine Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2016

These pieces are paired to begin a conversation about the work that women do, the time that it takes, and how it is valued. Twenty-Four/Seven is an empirical measure of that work, and the quilts are a real-world product of it.

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Twenty-Four/Seven, 2016
wood, muslin, thread, paper, glue
168 panels, 5 x 5 x 1 inches each; overall 141 x 143 x 1 inches

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For each panel I sewed an embroidery stitch for one hour, in an attempt to discover what one hour looks like. Every hour I allowed my hand and mind to wander as I pursued my task of creating a spiral, allowing the line to reflect my thoughts and represent the time that has passed.

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The goal of illustrating the idea of a 24/7 life, 168 hours, started out as an interesting experiment and by the end felt like an overwhelming burden. Anyone who experiences their responsibilities – whether as an engineer, a barista, a lawyer, a plumber, a mother, or any number of occupations – as 24/7, is working too hard.

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When You Hold Me I Can Sleep, 2016
7 quilts: fabric, batting, thread, mattress, wood
30 x 73 x 37 inches

In 2013, I created Fold Here, in which Portlanders contributed clothing and household linens to be used in performance and afterwards donated to Innovative Housing Incorporated, a not for profit that builds housing for low income and formerly homeless families. The items that were not wearable were cut up and made into a series of seven quilts.

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The quilt symbolizes warmth, cover and protection and is a representation of coming together: in the pieces of fabric that constitute the pattern, the layers of cloth and batting, and the stitches that unite all its parts.

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I was joined by sixteen women in sewing these quilts with the goal of using them to support Bradley Angle, an organization that assists people experiencing domestic violence. Two of the quilts raised funds and the rest were donated for use by families.

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The word hold in the title reminds us that an essential aspect of a relationship - the touch and connection – can become the dilemma of domestic violence. A hold can be supportive or restrictive. For some, it is difficult to love someone without hurting them. In this project our hold is a gentle embrace, an effort to affirm our abilities, as individuals and as a community, to help one another.

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Special thanks to: Elizabeth Bilyeu, Ellen George, Rachel Hibbard, Gail Jeidy, Deirdre Jennings, Margaret Klute, Julie Mainwaring, Kristen Miller, Lisa Pearlstein, Kim Ray, Rachel Siegel, Tatiana Simonova, Stephanie Speight, Sophia Varona, Christine Weber, and Julie White.

Art Photos:  Stephen Funk             Workshop Photos:  Maria T.D. Inocencio

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