I’ve always loved quilts and their sense of history. When I was growing up, there was a crazy quilt hanging next to my parent’s dining room table. I was fascinated with this family heirloom and the different triangular fabrics. I would try to spot places where the same fabric had been used. My mom also made her own quilts. There was a rather intricate one where she paired a floral with a graphic black and white stripe, and then there were some simpler ones she made for me and my sisters with big squares in happy colors. I still remember her showing me the different ways she could quilt it and asking for my preference.
When I was in college I went to the Folk Art Museum with my grandmother to see an exhibit of white on white quilts. I loved the subtle intricacies in color and texture, and imagining the time spent to make each one. In Philadelphia, when I worked for Anthropologie, I saw an exhibit of Gees Bend quilts and fell in love. The abstract layouts and unique pairings of fabrics stayed with me and may be my favorite quilts. Then there were my trips to India at a previous job, where I saw women sitting on the floor hand quilting designs for stores here in the US. It was a reminder that there are always hands touching the things we own—and it’s something I wish that was shared more.
I’ve wanted to make our own quilts for a while now. These quilts began about a year and a half ago! Some projects move fast, and others move slow despite our best efforts. The summer of 2015 we had two amazing interns, Gaby and True, who helped create these pieces. We laid out big pieces of cotton canvas on the ground to mark the size of the quilt and they played with the designs for the fronts. Pieces of fabric were laid down and rearranged countless times. Sections were slowly tweaked as the designs came into focus. Small areas were even sewn together here in the studio, then rearranged again before finally pinning them into the final layout. I wanted us to find a way to use the odd sized pieces of fabric leftover from pillow production, unused yardage, shibori experiments, and dyed panels that didn’t match the rest. I hate the idea of throwing out any of it, so I love that small scraps were given new life. These details led to new ideas and while some of the quilts were labored over others came together quickly.
They were almost sent to Haiti where a friend of my sister’s works with a cooperative in Port-au-Prince, but they had never worked with batting before and I wanted a little cushion in our quilts. Then time got away, so they sat in bags while I found the time to figure out where we would sew them. We then found a workroom in New Jersey that was willing to sew them. It was quite a production getting what we wanted, and ultimately we are now working with sewers in Brooklyn so we could work with them more closely. We are going to continue to produce these types of quilts and have given our sewers guidelines on what we’re looking for aesthetically so they can enjoy creative freedom with this project, too. We love the irregularity and odd shapes and encourage our sewers to play with layout ideas.
These quilts take their inspiration from my personal experiences with quilts, as well as Gaby and True’s process, and now our sewers as well. Each one of these quilts is an individual. They are handmade and compiled from various pieces of fabric we have in the studio. They are one of a kind--and they have quirks to them too! This quirkiness is what I love about them as you can tell they were made by hand and not in a big production run. I hope you’ll enjoy them in your home whether they cover your bed, are folded along the end, hung on the wall, or even draped over the back of your sofa for those cold winter months. Shop the collection here.