Sarris Quilts story and archive
I began Sarris Quilts more than 25 years ago with the desire to make something beautiful and functional for everyday use. I created my own designs that were influenced by the bold simplicity of Amish quilts with a contemporary flavor. Early on I began to work with hand dyed cottons and experimented with hand quilting to get just the right look.
My work was displayed at prestigous craft venues across the country and in the collections of The Renwich Gallery in Washington, D.C., the People's Place Quilt Museum, and Cambridge Artist Cooperative, to name just a few.
After many years of designing, sewing and travel I was ready for a change. I had always planned on going to graduate school and finally the timing was right. But my intention was not to continue to pursue work in textiles. Instead, I began to weld (more like sewing than you might think!) and work with three dimensional space.
Graduate school was tough, uncomfortable, and exactly what I was looking for. I became very excited by a new (to me) kind of art practice: Socially Engaged Art. Lately I have built up my own practice which I call a participatory and collaborative one.
There are still some interesting remnants from the Sarris Quilts work that crosses over into my current work. All those years attending crafts shows lead to coming up with innovative ways to display the work that was portable and simple. And of course, talking to people.
Do I still make the occasional commissioned quilt? Well, yes. Contact me to see more images and to chat.
Empathy Quilt, (pictured on the left,) is my newest work. It was made as a response to our world which seems to be less kind and less open everyday. The sale of this quilt (Currently on display at Cambridge Artist Coop,) will enable me to continue Stitching Exchange, a project I started working with immigrant women and two area learn English organizations: RISSE and Hudson Family Literacy. Stay tuned for more ways to support this work! Follow us on instagram: @stichnexchange
Here are a few examples of works made specifically for the wall. Experimentation with size, scale and presentation are very interesting to me.
Community Engaged Works
These quilts were made in collaboration with various community groups. I have made quilts from baby clothes or from a beloved family member who has passed on. I have designed wedding quilts where family and friends of the couple contribue a block (where I have created a palette,) and then I have assembled them into a quilt.
This mode of working relates best to my art practice today and allows me to consider and draw from various aspects of the history of quilt making. Traditional quilt making was collaborative, especially when assembling and finishing the quilt. Fabircs were reused out of necessity, prompting ingenuity and innovative designs. The quilt was a common form for community building and even fund raising. These themes excite me and I would look forward to future opportunities of this kind.