Why me, why now? Why not?
Much of this will be a familiar story. A lifetime of making and unmaking, stitching and unpicking, creating, editing and reworking. The need to make is firmly stitched into my fabric. In between all the making, I’ve spent my professional life connecting others with the arts, creative and cultural activity, manging programmes of arts activity and researching arts and cultural engagement.
I’ve been incubating my thoughts on quilting since 2020 so Cloud Quilting is also, at least in part, a pandemic-inspired response to achieving that (illusive) better work/life balance that brings together my research interests with creative practice and some flexibility for all things family.
The main 'hat' I wear is in higher education (communications and knowledge exchange) supporting a fabulous team researching digital education. Part of this role involves working with an inspiring group of colleagues working to improve data literacy for young people - to help them prepare for a world of work in which data will play a large part.
My interest in designing with data comes from this work though my research background lies in participatory arts engagement, digital cultural heritage and transformative learning.
The first quilts I made were for my daughters. I wanted the designs to represent me somehow so I spent a long (long) time picking the quilt pattern and fabrics. This experience got me thinking about how (and where) meaning is invested in quilt making, whether it's in the pattern choice, the invisible meanings stitched into the quilt at a particular point in time (or in life), or when people create something together making meaning through the process of quilting together. In other words, while I was making my first quilts I was already thinking about quilt pattern design.
Cloud Quilting is my way of bringing together my research interests in arts practice and my current work with data literacy to design quilts in new ways.