Kathryn Clark – Urban Planner Turned Fibre Artist

Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clarke
Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clarke
35″ x 47″
Linen, wool, yarn and embroidery thread
(Image from Kathryn Clark)

Kathryn Clark has something to say and she has chosen to use fibre art as her medium in this body of work, her ‘Foreclosure Series’.

From 1999 to 2004, Kathryn Clark worked for a private urban planning firm designing New Urbanist neighborhoods throughout the United States. In 2007, as housing foreclosures started to occur with more frequency, she began to question her design work. She wondered if she was adding to this in some way?

It was important for her to present the whole story of people losing their homes in a way that would capture people’s attention and make a memorable statement. Making quilts seemed an ironic solution to her. Quilts act as a functional memory, an historical record of difficult times.  It is during times of hardship that people have traditionally made quilts, often resorting to scraps of cloth when so poor they could not afford to waste a single thread of fabric.

The patterns for the Kathryn’s quilts are based on neighborhood maps. The quilt is pieced together using patterns of neighborhood blocks taken from RealtyTrac maps.  Within these, foreclosed lots are shown as holes in the quilts. The lot locations are completely random and they yield an unexpected beauty when laid out on fabric. These torn holes question the protective nature of a quilt.

I think her quilts are beautiful, and all the more amazing for the message they provide. See what you think.

Riverside Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
Riverside Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
Riverside Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark (Detail)
Riverside Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark (detail)
34″ x 46″
Tea stained voile, cotton, linen, yarn and embroidery thread
Cleveland Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
Cleveland Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
Cleveland Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark (Detail)
Cleveland Foreclosure Quilt (Detail)
25″ x 60″
Cotton, linen, recycled denim and embroidery thread
Cape Coral Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
Cape Coral Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
Cape Coral Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
Cape Coral Foreclosure Quilt by Kathryn Clark
30″ x 44″
Recycled bleached linen, recycled string and embroidery on voile
(All images from Kathryn Clark)

If you’d like to learn more about Kathryn Clark, or about her Foreclosure series, check out her website here.

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Comments (10)

Love these! It is amazing how such a mundane topic such as town planning can be used to create something so wonderful! You just never know where that inspiration is going to come from!

I think it is so clever how Kathryn Clark has integrated the age-old tradition of providing social history in a quilt with her message on the magnitude of the financial crisis. The result is rather impressive.

Wow. What an incredible idea. I love that Kathryn has captured these ‘quilt maps’, but I must say the number of holes is truly sobering and somehow makes it feel like I can’t call them beautiful. But they are important pieces of history and I think they’re fantastic. Thanks TSL! 🙂

Hey Sparks – totally agree the message is sobering, but I find the quilts themselves – with all that intricate piece work – appeal to me, too. What I find so impressive, is that Kathryn Clark’s message is clear, even though her medium is so pleasing.

What a wonderfully powerful statement these make!

Agreed. …and still, I would like one on my wall.

Very cute J! When are you opening your online store? I love all the stuff you put together… 🙂

Oooh – you say the nicest things!

Reblogged this on DyeVerse and commented:
Inspiring

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