I fell in love with quilting because it represents a greater idea of comfort and utility. To be honest, it took me years to fully understand that idea and the reason why I, as a 40 year old male, find so much of my identity and intrigue behind textiles and tactile art-making. I lived in 15 states and grew up in trailer parks and on food stamps without any real family presence. Because of those circumstances, I found agency in teaching myself self-efficiency and about how to build a nurturing home environment as just a pre-teen boy. It was always my priority to make myself feel cared for within an infrastructure that hadn’t set me up to succeed. I looked to art and creative-problem solving to become my curriculum for radical survival and stepping into my identity as a young man. I taught myself to quilt in high school and created my first portrait quilt at 19.
I translated what my childhood had taught me about self-efficient home building quite literally when I decided to study architecture at Cooper Union in New York City. I was interested in exploring structure and material; the things that I valued the most when experienced spatially. I wanted to create environments that offered what my upbringing hadn’t; ones that were crafted to care for the inhabitant and regenerate themselves. I grew my knowledge of what it meant to create one’s own system of comfort through tangible structures during my time there, but ended up leaving still searching for a better way to fulfill my “why”.
Later that year, I found my “why”. I returned to quilting. I fell in love. I taught myself how to sew. I found comfort in creating the epitome of a comfort object. The architectural foundation that had been established at Cooper Union informed how I manipulated textiles and viewed woven infrastructures. It gave me confidence to grant myself permissions to experiment in ways that have been historically taboo in the world of quilting.
I initially found intrigue and success in challenging how people perceived the traditional paradigm of craft; I treated quilts as sculpture, created photo-realistic portraits out of fabric, and constructed large scale quilts to cover external building structures. I wrote memoirs with fabric as I created collections of quilts that spoke to nostalgia, function, and identity. I explored material as I spent hours at the same thrift stores I had shopped at as a child, but this time to source materials to construct a collection of Log Cabin quilts that would go on to tour around the world.
I’m a 40 year old architect turned quilter with a love for creating tactile objects that have a history of utility and a future of self-preservation. I research comfort by creating comfort objects. I create environments through a filter of support, efficiency, and accessibility. I make fine art with a process that historically has only been identified with Grandmas and crafts, and I want to have a conversation about it.