Guest Post: Leadership Quilt

In my first semester in grad school we were given the theme of leadership for my design thesis class. We could design anything we wanted as long as it related to the idea of leadership in some way. Just to give you some examples one classmate created a product line for Martha Stewart Living, a brand that leads in the Home & Lifestyle industry; another classmate created a series of puppets based on various leaders throughout history. When I learned of the designated theme I immediately thought of Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy in South Africa. The stories, the strength and the beauty of the young girls who attend Oprah's special school became the inspiration for my project.

My idea was to design a gift that Oprah could give each girl upon graduation. That gift would be an inspirational quilt to remind each girl to be the leader she is meant to be. The individual quilt would be personalized with the name of the girl appliqued on the front. The idea is that the quilt becomes a personal keepsake with quotes from leaders from various backgrounds interwoven with symbols related to leadership. Back then I conducted a survey on Fly to see what readers thought of when they heard the word "leadership." Courage, faith, vision, and service were all characteristics that were consistently expressed in the survey results. This helped me brainstorm ideas of how to visually interpret those attributes.

After much conversation and research about South Africa, the school, and different quotes from established leaders, I finally began the design process. I found a quilting team to help piece, quilt and bind (you can see the woman who pieced the quilt and coordinated the team here). Most of the fabric sections were printed on my home printer and other swatches were purchased. You can't see in the photo but there's a lot of applique and embroidered details.

It was such a fun project. I'm passionate about inspiring young women and this concept allowed me to create a tangible piece that could do just that. I also loved the collaboration aspect; it allowed me to learn about the quilting process and gave me the opportunity to design in a totally different medium. It would be great to do more projects like this. If I had to do it all again I would change some things like the palette and some of the symbols. Looking back they seem a bit young for high school girls. For the most part, though, it was one of my favorite projects and I'm happy with the way it turned out.
You can see closeups of the quilt here.

From our Guest Blogger Andrea Pippins of Fly 

1 commentaire:

Leila a dit…

Your quilt is absolutely stunning! What a wonderful project this is, loved reading your post.