Social Distance, the Art Quilt

For some reason I feel compelled to document this strange time. So many new ideas as we adjust to this new culture. It occurred to me that quilts are often about mapping. They use grids. Pieces are sewn in quadrants. Colors can be symbols and show graphs. Shapes can indicate objects or people, even abstractly, especially abstractly.

Here is the first quilted response to "social distancing," a concept which itself is a kind of mapping. Where are we in space? We've always been aware of it. And it is (or was) different in different countries. Think about when you get on a subway or bus, or choose a table at a restaurant, or pick a seat at a lecture. If there is only one person there you might sit ten feet away. If it's somewhat crowded, you might pick a place where there is a seat between you and another person. Now, it's just uniform: each of us is asked to choose a place six feet from one another.

I began with images I took in New York City a few years ago. I had photos from two separate trips and two kinds of subway cars that were miraculously empty at the end of the line, one at the Brooklyn Bridge station. I altered their colors and textures, then printed them out on "Light Fabric Transfer" paper for ink jet printers (Avery 3271). I was pleased with how the images came out, although I'm not crazy about the stiff texture. Details, details.

The patterned cloth was cut from strips Cosmo Twist yarn-dyed cotton fabric I bought as a treat from one of my favorite online shops, kimonomomo (I got the black sashiko thread I used to quilt this from her, also). The strips were from the assorted "purple" set, although they are mostly maroon-based, with blues and browns as well. They are showing up a little brighter here. The solid colors were from hand-dyed cloth I bought decades ago that I had sewn together, and then taken apart. I also worked with various types of black cloth.

Who will sit there now?

Somewhat related: Here's a funny comic of "Where's Waldo" the "social distancing version" by Clay Bennett.