Friday, January 14, 2011

Laurie Swim: Lasting Memorials

End of Day (2002), Laurie Swim
SOFA 2010 (International Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair 2010) in Chicago, Illinois, featured an art quilter who helped re-ignite my interest in art quilts.   While searching the internet for a local quilt artist, Gwen McGee Boyd, who is now my mentor, I discovered the work of Laurie Swim.   Ms. Swim is a veteran art quilter who currently resides in Nova Scotia, Canada.   She has created art quilts for over 35 years.   Her creations use various fabrics and threads giving her work texture and movement.

Dory Idyll (2006), Laurie Swim

As a young quilter, I was taught cotton fabrics were the preferred cloth for quilting.   Laurie dismissed this traditional use of cotton.  Her work often incorporates silks, linens, and sheers which add interest and  the illusion of movement.   Before attending SOFA, my only experience with Ms. Swim's work was through books and the internet.  SOFA gave me the opportunity to come within inches of her creations to fully appreciate her raw edge appliqué technique and intricate quilting.  Her work was even more impressive in person.  

Laurie Swim is not only known for awe-inspiring art quilts, but for her work developing large scale community quilt projects.   She uses her art to give voice to communities struggling with social and economic issues.   Working with communities she raises awareness and  provides memorials with art quilts.   "Lost at Sea", pays tribute to 17 Novia Scotia fisherman who drowned in a terrible storm.  Another tribute raises awareness for improved safety laws for young people between the ages of 15 - 24 who were killed or injured while  working in Canada.  "The Life Quilt" is a memorial for thousands of young people linked by the fact that their tragedies didn't have to happen.  Her most recent community quilt was unveiled in March 2010.  "Breaking Ground:  The Hogs Hollow Disaster 1960" honors 5 Italian immigrant workers killed in a 1960 accident while digging a  new water main line in northern Toronto.  This  7' x 20' tribute was  created by dozens of volunteers stitching for  thousands of hours  over a 9 month period.   
Breaking Ground (2010), Laurie Swim
Laurie Swim's art provides more than beauty.  It amplifies voices of communities. How is your art raising awareness and remembering the sacrifices of others?

1 comment:

  1. Ramona,
    I love your blog and you have a great mentor in Gwen McGee Boyd. You will learn a great deal. Also I love Laruie Swim's work and thank you for posting.