All posts tagged: embroidery

On Incarceration, Quilting and Building Community at Homan Square

August of this year, Nichols Tower Artist-in-Residence Rachel Wallis held her first quilting circle where she invited participants to sew thoughts, plans, and dreams that female inmates at the Cook County prison have for their children. In different stages of incarceration, some of these women are awaiting a trial, some are being processed. These women are mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters who were separated from their family as a result of imprisonment. On her website, artist Rachel Wallis describes herself as “an activist who uses art in organizing work, and an artist who engages in issues of racial and social justice.” As an extension of her art practice, Wallis approached the Cook County women’s facility with a series of quilting workshops to engage the inmates; the first of which took place in summer of 2018. Scheduled on a Saturday afternoon, Wallis began the three-hour workshop by inviting participants to sit in a circle. Before she entrusted the participants with the sewing, Wallis, along with facilitators Jamilah Bowden, a professional counselor at H’Art of Hope, and Audrey …

Gardens in Open Spaces: An Interview with Leslie Rose

Leslie Rose is a textile and performance artist who creates domestic spaces in public and transforms damaged garments into treasured garments of wearable art through her project Gardens in Open Spaces. Her pieces blossom as they commemorate the stories of wearers and inspire conversation. Rose is a working-class disabled transwoman and a sex trafficking survivor who has experienced periods of homelessness, and she draws on these experiences as she interrogates the nature of domestic spaces, access to public spaces, the gendering and invisibility of certain types of labor, and how to navigate the effects of trauma. Because she is often unable to leave her apartment due to her disability, sharing her project on social media and through those who have commissioned wearable pieces has become part of her performance. You can follow her on Instagram using the tag #gardensinopenspaces.  UPDATE: Since this interview, Rose suffered a heart attack and has launched a campaign to help her meet medical and living expenses while she recovers. This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness. Jennifer Patiño Cervantes: How did your …