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Speak Up, Speak Out


Speak Up, Speak Out


For most of my career as an artist and teacher, I followed what I was required to do as a US Diplomat:  not speak out in public on things political.  As a federal employee, we were not allowed to speak out while on the job and restrictions off the job were confusing, so the solution was to just keep quiet.  The Presidential race and election results of 2016 were such that all that came to an end:  I HAD to SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT.  

When the call for entries for an exhibit titled Threads of Resistance went out, I KNEW I wanted to participate.  My daughter-in-law, then my son's girlfriend, asked if I would like to join her and take a bus all the way from Maine to DC and back for the Women's March the day after the 45th US President was inaugurated (I refuse to use his name--he is a disgrace to the Nation).  My husband was beside himself with worry, and I kept reassuring him:  all would be well.  No matter how large, this was a vast sea of WOMEN.  And perhaps for the first time ever, a major march in the nation's capital had not ONE single arrest.  Yup.  Women!

We left Maine at about 6 pm on Friday, inauguration day, and arrived, bleary and achy, in Washington.  We never did get anywhere close to the stage--there were too many people!  At one point, it took us 45 minutes to move 2 blocks.   So I took photos...tons of photos.  I selected my favorites to use in this quilt. 

I inked the Capitol dome, and asked my fellow bus riders fro the Midcoast of Maine to outline their hands (if they wished).  Those hands became the border.   Five of us, including me (far right) and Ashley (now DIL, in braids), are in the foreground.  Into the sky, I quilted the Preamble to the Constitution which includes the right to protest against the government and the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of assembly and free speech.  Around the outside of the hands I quilted footsteps, for the bazillion hours we spent standing on our feet.  Finally, by 6 pm we were back for our second night in a row not-quite-sleeping on the bus.  

This was such a stunning experience for anyone there or in the satellite protests around the world.  Ashley wrote an essay about it for a college class that ended up being published in a book--at age 25.  Her professor thought it was so wonderful she submitted it and it was one of the few included. GO Ashley!   

I don't usually include multiple detail shots, but for this seminal moment, I had to do it.  

Size:  approximately 40 x 50 inches.

Materials:  artist dyed and commercial cottons, textile marking pens, Mistyfuse adhesive web, wool blend batting, thread. 

In the collection of the artist.