The Myriad Interpretations of Language

A Collaborative Embroidery/Quilt Project

Lego Sam gathers up all of her orange embroidery suppliesI have always thought that art can be considered a language of communication. Sometimes, when words and rhetoric get lost in the noise, art can cut through it by illustrating the concepts in different ways.

As a person who has had a life-long fascination with how words and language function, I’ve been looking for a way to illustrate the idea that, while we all might hear the same words, what we make of them is often quite different. You only have to listen to opposing political views to see how a phrase can be stretched like taffy to encompass fully contradictory meanings depending on who’s listening. And yet, it’s what we have, so we keep trying.

So, putting polarizing rhetoric aside, how could the interpretation of language be illustrated?

Enter embroidery.

Embroidery has been a skill used to measure the worth of women over the past couple of centuries. Rozsika Parker, in her book “The Subversive Stitch,” writes: “The art of embroidery has been the means of educating women into the feminine ideal, and of proving that they have attained it, but it has also provided a weapon of resistance to the constraints of femininity.”

While I respect the tradition of the stitch, I love the idea of using it to question the very traditions it’s founded on. And I do like a bit of subversion in my art!

Thus this collaborative project… I invite you to stitch a block, following some very simple instructions. The project is to interpret the instructions the way YOU think fit; there is no right or wrong. Once I put the collective collaboration together into one piece of art, my hope is that it will illustrate the concept: that there are myriad ways to interpret the same language.

Once all the blocks arrive, I plan to assemble them into a quilt, and submit the quilt to various quilt and fiber art shows, starting with QuiltCon 2023. Depending on the response, I might send out different sets of instructions for other quilts at a later time to create a series.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • SIGN UP BELOW to receive the stitching instructions
  • Follow the stitching instructions that you receive via email. This is the part where you get to do it *your* way. Don’t consult with anyone about it!
  • Take some pictures of it, and hold on to those for the reveal date. PLEASE don’t share anything about your block in social media before the reveal.
  • Tape a note to the back that includes your name, location (state, province, country, etc.) and Instagram handle.
  • Mail it to me (address provided in the instructions)
  • DEADLINE FOR SHIPPING: August 1, 2022
  • BLOCK REVEAL DATE: September 1, 2022 – we’ll send you reveal instructions and hashtags etc.
  • Full Project Reveal, November 2022

From start to finish, the project can be done in an hour… unless, of course, your interpretation demands more 🙂

Thank you for collaborating!

Sign up below to receive the instructions: