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Poverty-Conscious Quilts

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Kathryn Clark Creates an Artistic Display of Foreclosures With Blankets

— January 18, 2012 — Social Good
Artist and former urban planner Kathryn Clark has taken a different approach to activism with her socially conscious quilts. In a similar vein as the NAMES project AIDS Memorial Quilt -- a quilt that represented all those names of friends and loved ones who had died of AIDS -- Clark aims to raise awareness of foreclosures.

Due to Clark’s previous employment as an urban planner she became aware “of how big an impact the foreclosure crisis would have on our cities and towns throughout the US. For the AIDS Memorial Quilt, ordinary citizens and people were encouraged to send in panels for the creation of the quilt and boy did they ever." Kathryn Clark chose quilts as her medium as “quilts act as a functional memory, a historical record of difficult times…during time of hardship traditionally made quilts…often resorting to scraps of cloth as not to waste a single thread of fabric."

This ironic representation is captivating and makes a memorable statement while also causing the spectator to become more aware of this important cause. The paneling on each of the quilts is representative of mapped house foreclosures. Foreclosed lots are shown as holes in the quilts as they are quite literally holes in the community. Clark selects these lots to plot at random but once added to the quilt, they form a pleasing aesthetic. Her pieces include lots from Modesto, Detroit, Cape Coral, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Atlanta and Albuquerque. These plotted maps are created using a multitude of different materials including but not limited to cheesecloth, linen, cotton, quilting thread, recycled string, wool, yarn and denim. Each quilt uses a wide array of these materials, colors and intricate stitching.
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