A Quilt in 9 Squares

Eli Whitney Museum

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Martin Luther King Day 2017

A Quilt in 9 Squares

Thumbnail of A Quilt in 9 Squares project

Vacation Program

  • Monday, January 16, 2017
  • 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Designed for ages 7 to 14
  • By Kiran Zaman, Program Developer

We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King preached that America would be respected not for rhetoric or military might, but for social justice that embraces equally all people. When we drift from that vision, silence is an unacceptable answer.

This Martin Luther King Day, explore arts that gave voice to essential community values. Join students new to New Haven (sponsored by Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services – Iris) and students from Dwight Hall at Yale to engage in the tradition of quilting with multicultural fabrics (because a quilt in one color is just a boring blanket) – and to experiment with the icon of the safety pin as a badge of commitment to social connection.

Quilting began as a practical art. Fabric was precious. Scraps of well-worn clothes could be reused to assemble warm and durable bedding. Before there were sewing machines, neighbors gathered to share techniques, scraps, and sewing. Quilts took on special significance as statements of the beauty of shared resources and labor.

Create a mini (9 – 12") 'quilt' of nine squares – representing New Haven's original 9 Square Plan. Sew with machines and by hand (no experience necessary – you'll have help and will learn quickly.) Select and exchange cloth squares of fibers and pattens that have travelled from distant lands – (New Haven has many cultures represented and we will try to get fabric from many of them). Frame your piece or sew it into a pillow.

Then learn to bend and sculpt the common safety pin into characters with uncommon identities. Exchange them with new friends. Sand and oil a hardwood base and sit your new artful community on a magnetic strip to display them.

The proceeds of this class will underwrite classes for the children of Iris throughout the year.

Resident Artist: Kiran Zaman

MLK 2017

NH 9 Square Plan

MLK Day banner201b7

safety pin fig 3


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