49 Squares


49 Squares, Minnetonka, MN

Worked with 30 volunteers and Minnetonka Center for the Arts Staff to design, plan, build and install a 21 by 21 foot textile artwork on an outdoor concrete wall. I held workshops at the art center and in my home to fabricate the 49, 3 by 3 foot squares based loosely on the nine-patch quilt pattern. Artists were allowed to deviate from that pattern as desired.

Materials were a thick, industrial felt backing (like giant needlepoint canvas), knit clothing trim, mostly striped, and polyester fleece strips. I taught a basic diagonal “stitch” and knotting to complete the design, but again, some participants improvised their own structure. Once complete, squares were all laid out in my backyard to decide on a layout, then attached (sewn) to each other on the sides. The wall was prepared with pipe to create the underlying grid of the quilt, then seven rows of squares were attached to the pipe, and each other, with wrapping and sewing techniques.

We used both scaffolding and a lift-truck to accomplish this daunting task. Finally, the yellow fabric, gutter guard, was attached around the edges to form a visual frame or binding (in quilt lingo). This work was on display for 4 months before we removed and sadly, dismantled it. It was faded and filled with spiderwebs, leaves, dirt etc.