I challenged myself to design a no-sew block to encourage participation in the quilt by those with an aversion to sewing. The detailed story of its construction is at http://femedtech.net/published/i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings-making-a-quilt-block-with-no-sewing/ .
My starting point was the title of one of Maya Angelou’s autobiographical books I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I read the book many years ago, and I still recall the impression it made on me, though I had forgotten that its title was inspired by a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Angelou wrote of a youth very different from mine: her book was a window into her life. I looked through my fabrics and found a piece of fabric that I bought from a vendor of African Art fabrics and chose a bird that almost looked as though it was behind bars. I am assuming the fabric is African but I don’t know which country it’s from, let alone who made it.
As I was designing the block, the questions I wrote were troubling me:
But how can we know this?
And how does the cage open?
The author owned the experiences that I, as a reader, could learn more about but not fully know. And the second question is even more troubling, as it is about how freedom is achieved and the role of the enslaved and the already “free”.
So I have made a block with the beautiful words of two other writers, an image from an unknown textile artist, woven and printed by unknown crafts(wo)men, and posed questions that I can’t answer.
Shared by: @francesbell
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