work table : Cleveland Foreclosure Quilt

I'm making steady progress on the Cleveland Foreclosure quilt since my daughter has been in art camp this week. I was able to piece the front and make the quilt sandwich yesterday. Having this part of the quilting process done makes it easy to pick up the work for a few moments to sew wherever as I'm going to be snatching time when I can starting now through July. Wherever I go, I use this map to keep me on the right track.

I create one of these for every piece so I know exactly what to sew and what to cut away. Trace paper is one of the greatest inventions. My dad always called it bumwad (he is an architect so he's entitled to some wierd habits). I wonder if the next generation of architects will even know what trace paper is? Here is the first small area I've started to quilt and cut.

I wanted the backing to play a more prominant role in this piece. I like the idea of dark navy and black holes to expose just how dire the situation is in Cleveland.

I randomly pieced the back panel on purpose because what is exposed is such a mess. There is no order or pattern to how these neighborhoods are falling apart.

The blocks are sewn with gold thread in reference to how much money the banks, flippers and thieves are making off these foreclosures. Did you know that before the homes were razed, the copper plumbing is often ripped out and sent to China and India?

What isn't shown yet is how the city is patching over some of these empty lots with community gardens, scattered all over the city. This quilt will show four gardens within a twenty-two block area.


Jen said...

I love how this is growing before my eyes - great work!

Karen said...

I love this and thanks for sharing the process, the tracing paper plan. I read an article about Detroit last week in on of our newspapers(in England), it's very scary how things can just come apart...the human cost is incalculable.

Anonymous said...

This is really beautiful, relevant work. So happy to see your process.

Christine said...

Great topic for a quilt. I appreciate your stitches and your desire to expose my city's steady population decline.
What section of Cleveland is this?
I draw maps of my place in Cleveland and stitch them!
My understanding is that the copper pipes are ripped out and sold by thieves. It's a huge problem in troubled neighborhoods. Mostly, it's 'easy cash' for people living on the fringe.
I can rant more, but rather enjoy your artwork instead.
Thank you for sharing your work.

Kitty Kilian said...

The gold thread is a great find. May be you can use a few 1000 dollar bills as a filling in the next one ;-)
Oh and... Of course the proper thieves here are the banks!

anastasia said...

this is coming together well! the gold thread is an interesting touch. i wonder what the foreclosures in the neighborhoods the rich people (the ones who are making money off of this) live in look like?
the green areas could be a different texture of fabric perhaps? felt, or velvet, maybe handmade paper with seeds suspended in it (the type you get which you can plant)?
you're going to have quite some series when you're done!

Victoria said...

Interesting that your dad is an architect. Your working map on the tracing paper is a wonderful addition to the story of your process. (It reminds me of a blueprint.) I love the faded house fabric on this piece, like ghosts of what once was, and the meaning behind the gold thread is another powerful component. The thought behind your work is fabulous.

k said...

the work you are doing on these quilts are amazing - the layers both of the quilt and in your thoughts behind it are so intriguing and beautiful. i'm enjoying watching the progress, despite the serious subject matter.

Judy Martin said...

What I love about this body of work is the serious social protest done with domestic and female techniques to make an object that we think of as something that comforts us. It is amazing, and congratulations.

thanks also for the tip about the tracing paper map as a guide, I'll remember that.

I also like to read anything about Louise Bourgeois' body of work, so thanks for your last post as well.

kathrynclark said...

Thank you for all your supportive comments. It means a lot to hear the feedback!

@Christine You make amazing work! The area of Cleveland is Forest Hills, the name of the print fabric hidden below. Yes, I've read that it is thieves stealing the pipes but now I heard there has been a legitimage business created to salvage items from homes before they're destroyed, employing 30 people in Cleveland.

Lari Washburn said...

This work is so wonderful Kathryn! The blue is quite different for you I think. I like the hope of the gardens you plan to include too. It's just too much unrelenting sadness without some hope isn't it?


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