Iris Wright, “Quilt”

Iris Wright
Providence, RI

artist’s book
5″ x 5.25″ x 1″

Artist Statement

Quilt is an artist’s book I made as a reflection on the surround of community during grief and the care that we grant our own lives and those we love. Its text is a poem in pieces, each line disconnected from the others until the final draft where I joined them into a progression of couplets. I wrote the poem in the imperative mood to serve as instruction in uncertainty.

I chose the medium for its temporal qualities; moving through a book requires patient interaction, viewing one part of the whole at a time. Like a quilt, it is detailed in small stitches and carefully cut fabric, but here the components are isolated so they can be appreciated page-by-page. The content is presented in a pattern: fabric, text, stitching, text, fabric, and a blank page before the pattern repeats with new text and a different stitching design. The repetition becomes comfortable and navigable while the content is more open. Blank pages offer moments of quietude.

Texture was important to me when choosing materials; the paper is linen, and the fabric and thread are cotton. It is soft to the touch and meant to be handled. Each stitch is made for fingers to trace over as one would feel a handmade quilt. The book is a Smythe sewn form with blue waxed linen thread which holds one fabric strip in each signature. The book cloth I made using the same fabric that is throughout the book. I handset the type and printed it on letterpress so even the words have tangible feeling.

Quilt is, in part, a translation of its name, but it speaks of the flux that we inhabit, the depression of the unknowing, and, most importantly, the care we must impart to survive that ocean.