BFA Thesis Project 2020-2021
A Common Thread
A common thread focuses on the ideas of family and tradition in relation to sustainable farming practice. As technology advances and farms get larger to meet modern consumers’ demand, the methods passed down for generations are often forgotten. This work is intended to illuminate these traditions in reference to my own experiences as a part of the next generation of farmers.
A common thread is a five-foot square quilt that incorporates a series of twenty-one paintings depicting farming life. Through both its form and creation, the quilt also embraces the tradition of passing down textile crafts, as to exclude this would be to deny one of the essential skills that the women of my family have passed through the generations living on the farm. Before the days of ready-made clothing, it was necessary to understand the basics of creating garments, blankets, and mending worn textiles. By working closely with my maternal grandmother in the planning and creation of the quilt, the work itself became a part of this tradition.
The paintings on the front of the quilt represent the present while the past is represented on the reverse; each painting is backed with decorative fabric creating a checkerboard pattern on each side of the quilt. These alternating panels of fabric and painting represent how the present is interwoven with the past. Both sides include imagery of family farmland, different daily chores, livestock, as well as the different vices we use to get through the day. This is done in a way to highlight both the similarities and differences in the experiences of myself and those before me. The paintings use colour to represent my connection to the individual images. The color is faded in the older images mimicking how knowledge of the past fades over time. A common thread acts as a way to commemorate this knowledge and aims to be a piece that encourages dialogue on the traditions of those who came before us.