Two Itinerant Quilters

This summer, two artists will travel to locations in the UK and approach passers-by with the proposition of cutting a diamond-shaped piece of fabric from the clothes they are wearing. People’s responses to this polite enquiry will determine the outcome of a new project which aims to explore the personal histories of people and their clothes and to connect people from all over the world via the things they wear.

Quilters

Photo by Phoebe Mussman

Two Itinerant Quilters is a new project created by artists Joanna Wright and Lenka Clayton, who will be in residence at Ceredigion Museum in Wales on 4 and 5 August and Helson Museum in Cornwall on 11 and 12 August. The project takes its inspiration from the long-lost profession of the 18th century travelling quilters who would stay with families in order to create patchwork quilts from old clothing, rags and sacks found at each home.

Quilters

Photo by Phoebe Mussman

This story goes with the above shirt:‘There is a river race in Missouri for kayaks and canoes called the Missouri River 340. The race starts in Kansas City and ends in St. Charles, Missouri. You paddle 340 miles across the state on the Missouri River. It takes about 2 1?2 days, for some it takes longer. The shirt I brought is the shirt worn by the first all women’s voyageur canoe team ‘Ladies and Clark’. I was a member of that team. We placed 26th out of 340 vessels. Our age range was 62 yrs old…to 30 years old… One team member found out that she was pregnant the week before the race. She kept her commitment to our team and finished the race strong. The river adventure with its beauty and perils changed our lives and reminded us that women are strong competitors, and caring competitors, as we looked after each other along our journey.’

Quilters

Photo by Phoebe Mussman

As well as donating a piece of fabric, each participant contributes a story, remark or comment linked to the clothing, with the collection of stories growing online as the physical quilt expands. The aim is to connect people via those stories and their garments but also to create the possibility of people, sporting clothes with a very visible and distinctive contrasting patch, bumping into each other on the street.

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