Spencer County Public Library - Taylorsville, KY
Spencer County Crazy Quilt ~ 3' x 5’ each
As a stained glass artist I create windows which tell stories as artists in this medium have traditionally done. The stories I tell are about particular places. I like to include details of the natural species and geology which have shaped the character of the communities that grow in these places.
My research into Spencer County revealed a place of natural abundance and beauty, which has given rise to a tradition of farming, natural recreation, and thriving communities. Organizing details of this complex story into a visually interesting work of art is a challenge, but one that I enjoy.
I recalled another art form which met this challenge beautifully - the crazy quilt. This term refers to a quilt style which deviated from repeated pieced-block designs, and allowed the maker to use odd shapes of many colors and types of fabric. Fancy free-form embroidery followed seams and the most elaborate examples featured embroidered pictures completely obscuring the underlying fabrics. Subject matter was far-ranging, including sentiments about family and friends, local flora and fauna, patriotic themes, current events, and exotic imagery from other cultures. This 'fancy work' was done almost exclusively by women, using the home sewing and embroidery skills they already possessed.
This art form took hold as a national craze during the late 1860s, and was practiced by women of every social level. New aesthetic attitudes reflected the idea that beauty should be found in even the humblest home, and could elevate the minds and fortunes of the family.
By referencing the crazy quilt, I was able to include diverse details in a free-association design structure. Imagery ranging from local floral and fauna, limestone geology and native peoples, to farming, recreational activities, historical events, buildings and floods, etc., build a rich visual story.
I hope that this work will inspire curiosity about the rich legacy of life here.
Read all about it at your local library!