My “Living Quilt for Newnan – City of Homes” was installed at 6 PM on Thursday, August 31, 2017. The weather turned out perfect with even some sunshine after a morning and evening before of heavy rains. Many people came out to enjoy the installation and dedication ceremony including the mayor of Newnan and Art Rez Board Members and many local children who helped to install the handmade paper quilt squares. We staked down the quilt with bamboo skewers with a cork on top, all being biodegradable materials.
The quilt is made with hand papermaking using stencils and dyed pulp from purchased and local plant materials and has seeds in the paper pulp for Southeastern wildflowers in the same colors as the quilt pattern. I used bark from cedar, crepe myrtle, magnolia, mulberry, paper bush and wisteria to make paper in Newnan and created a recipe and sample book for Newnan papermaking plants. The Newnan Living Quilt has a house motif and features a 2-story antebellum home in red, yellow, blue and white colors. The homes are around a square in the middle of each 20-inch quilt square, and each home is composed of 8 layers of handmade paper with natural string in between layers helping to hold it all together.
At the August 31 ceremony, local children laid out the squares and put in the stakes, and then a local minister/poet offered a prayer/blessing for the quilt. I am very grateful to all the volunteers who helped make the handmade paper quilt and construct the “bed. The headboard and footboard are made with local branches collected along the streets of Newnan after people had done some tree trimming. The headboard and footboard also contain wisteria and other vines and lots of hydrangea blossoms that someone had recently clipped off and left to be picked up.
This project was lots of fun for me although lots of work in the 3 weeks of my residency. Thanks to my husband Timothy S. Allen who was with me during the residency in Newnan and helped with all aspects of this project as well as taking great photographs to document it. For more of Tim’s photos see his Blog at http://allentimphotos2.wordpress.com
I was an artist in residence at Newnan Art Rez from August 8 to Sept. 1, 2017. We leave Newnan today, and I hope the quilt will change over time with the seeds sprouting and blooming as a living quilt for Newnan. Check back here to see photos of the quilt as it changes over time. I am hoping that local volunteers will continue to send me photos. Thank you, Newnan, for a wonderful residency experience!
For more information about the artist-in-residency program in Newnan, visit the website at http://newnanartist.org