I doubt this one needs a lot of explanation. It’s pages from The New York Times on October 3rd and 4th, 2017, overlaid with a gray sheer and quilted with black thread in concentric circles. The green gun sight image is appliqued on top.
I used actual newspapers, knowing that this piece will wear over time. I expect the pages to yellow and tear to show the passage of time. I hope that the time that passes will bring change in the use of guns in the U.S., but I fear that time will pass with little change at all.
In Our Sights, 2017. 36″ x 32″
I started a new quilt this week. I’m still reeling from this week’s news of yet another mass shooting, the most deadly of all, and I am not yet ready to start typing the names of victims to add them to the Victims Quilt. But, I still found myself sick over the shooting and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I went to bed the other night drawing gun sight patterns. I originally thought that I would create a block that looked like gun sights to create a traditional quilt, in the style of the Double T block used by the Temperance movement. When I awoke in the morning, however, this is the quilt that I had in mind:
I’ve been working steadily this week on my “Victims” quilt (which may explain why I am in such a mood of melancholy). I now have two rows completed to share. When it’s done, the quilt will be about as long as it is wide now.
After a little hiatus from my project, I am back to work on my Victims Quilt, making what I hope will be the last blocks.
These blocks are the first four of the 49 I will make for the victims of the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando just a few months ago.
I don’t know what to say about these blocks. How can I not be incredibly affected by these? These blocks represent the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, CT, which occurred in 2012, when my daughter was six months old. She shares a name with one of the young victims. Even so many years later, I cannot make any sense of this massacre and feel just raw emotion when I think of it.
You can tell by the dates that I am getting close to finishing the blocks for my soon-to-be-renamed “No More Names” quilt. The Newtown blocks aren’t finished yet and that’s not just because they are so difficult to work on; I also ran out of blue fabric. I was able to pick up some more at the fabulous A Notion to Quilt in Shelburne, MA this weekend so those blocks will be soon complete.
So, a little out of order, but here are the blocks representing the victims of the shooting in San Bernadino, California. This shooting happened less than a year ago, but already seems to have faded from our collective memory, replaced six months later by an even deadlier event.
I’m back hard at work on my No More Names Quilt blocks. (By the way, I would like to rename this quilt and am taking suggestions. I searched the tag #NoMoreNames on Instagram and found that it is already being used to refer to violence against African-Americans. They have my full support and I don’t want to co-opt the tag for my project. So, if you have thoughts about a name for this quilt, I’m taking suggestions.)
This week, I’ve worked on the blocks for the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard shooting in 2013. As I sewed these, I thought about the recent blocks I made for the Fort Hood shooting and how, at least for the shootings I am covering, military bases and schools reappear. I think that we should all feel safe wherever we are in the U.S. (and that is part of the reason for this project), but shouldn’t military bases and schools be some of the safest places?
Washington, D.C. Navy Yard Shooting Victims
One of the interesting things to me as I took on this project was to realize that only one state has had more than one mass shooting (with more than 10 victims) during the last 20 years. Colorado saw the first mass shooting of the recent string in Littleton and was then again visited by the same tragedy in Aurora at the cinema shooting in 2012. These blocks include the names of the victims from that night in the theater.
Last week was a pretty productive one for my “No More Names” quilt. In addition to finishing the New York blocks, I also got the blocks made for the victims of the Fort Hood, TX shooting in 2009.
I have finished another group of blocks for my “No More Names” mass shooting quilt. These are the victims of a shooting in 2009, in Binghamton, New York. Working on these blocks saddened me because I realized that I had forgotten completely about this shooting, which is exactly the point of the quilt. Horrible events like this one occurs, we hear about it for a few days, and then it disappears from our consciousness until another one happens (all too frequently) and we are yet again reminded of the string of shootings in this country. I am hoping that this cycle will end.