A quilt by Elaine Luther.

Blood and Fire – a Response to the Deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Copyright Elaine Luther 2020.  Approximately 29″ square. Quilting cotton fabric, batting, thread.

The black and white fabric has skeletons. When I started thinking about making this a couple of weeks ago, it was going to be about Covid-19 and the failures of the various governments to protect citizens.

Then it changed to being about police brutality and racism. (plus the pandemic.) Orange for fire in the streets, red for blood. It’s not subtle.

This was made improv style, after I made the basic three rows (It’s about 27” square total), I then freehand cut it up, freehand cut some strips (no rulers) and then sewed it back together.

It’s chaotic and not a satisfying composition, but that’s the point.

The bottom edge of the quilt is jaggedy on purpose.  The 9 patch Americana quilt blocks are found blocks, I bought them somewhere, second hand, though I don’t remember where.  Maybe I should start keeping records on that?  But I’m kind of fine with not knowing.  I rarely know who made my found quilt blocks, and that’s kind of the point.  When I’m using abandoned handwork from other women, I’m collaborating, sort of, with this unknown maker.

I worked on two pieces at the same time. Here’s the other one.

Small Protest Flag/Quilt/Banner, Copyright Elaine Luther 2020. Cotton fabric, batting and thread.

I worked on these pieces at the same time and finished both of them all the way within a week, which is fast for me. Usually, I make a quilt top and then put it away until… I don’t know, I haven’t finished those two quilt tops yet. The only other times I’ve made quilts are when someone is born or dies, or a doll urgently needs a new quilt.

I need to measure this one, but it’s maybe 2 feet in height and 1 1/2 feet wide.

I feel slightly weird about sharing these right now, without saying the other anti-racist work and donations I’m doing and making. And I haven’t figured out how to say that without sounding self-righteous. I’m also continuing to amplify Black voices, which I’ve been doing for a while, and over on my other blog, Being Bold, writing about Black women and men (as well as other POC and also white women). That’s what that site, and business is all about.

A friend who’s a teaching artist is still teaching online and a student of hers defined craftivism this way, “It’s when you’re shy and you let your hands do the talking for you.”

I loved that and I think it may be one of the best definitions of craftivism I’ve ever heard. I’m definitely not shy, but I am an artist and sometimes the way I want to express a thing is through making, because that’s what I do.

Here are some process shots.

Small Protest Flag/Banner/Quilt by Elaine Luther, with batting and backing, ready to be quilted.

Blood and Fire Quilt by Elaine Luther before the quilt was cut apart diagonally.

Detail shot showing the skeleton fabric.

Blood and Fire Quilt by Elaine Luther after the quilt was cut apart, in the process of being sewn back together with slashes of red and orange. Americana 9 patch quilt blocks alternate with black and white skeleton blocks in a 29″ square quilt top.

Blood and Fire Quilt by Elaine Luther after the quilt was cut apart, in the process of being sewn back together with slashes of red and orange. Americana 9 patch quilt blocks alternate with black and white skeleton blocks in a 29″ square quilt top.

Blood and Fire Quilt by Elaine Luther, layered with batting and backing in preparation for top quilting.