About the Project

Material Interactions: Data-Driven Community Quilting draws on the communal traditions of quilting to create interactive data-driven patchwork quilts at community events throughout New York state.

Through the selection of specific fabrics, colors, and shapes to represent various data points, attendees and I co-construct patchwork pieces on site. Depending on the nature of the event, data may indicate geographic origins, distance traveled to the event, years participating the event and its community, or other relevant information that captures an interesting aspect of that event.  These selections are pieced into a quilt on the spot, by me or by participants who want to try their hand at textile work.

After each event, the patchwork piece is quilted and finished, resulting in a unique collaborative snapshot of the event’s community that bridges folk arts—a traditional form of slow, small, community-based creation–with data reflective of our contemporary information society rooted in rapid technological changes and the capitalization of mass communication and manufacture. Completed quilts from prior events will be displayed at subsequent events, offering an increasing visual and tactile comparison between various events and their communities. Ultimately the resulting quilts from all of the 2023 events will be displayed together in a traveling exhibit included in various quilt shows and other venues across the state and possibly nationwide.

See the quilts!

See additional photos of works-in-progress and competed quilts on Instagram @rachelivyclarke

Upcoming Events

Material Interactions will appear at the following events:

Want to bring Material Interactions to your community event? Contact me!

Previous Events

Patchwork Tutorials

Lost your DIY Data Square instructions or need another copy? Download the instructions as a PDF here.

Want more information about how to sew a quilt block? Here are a couple videos that can help:

How to hand sew 2 fabric squares together

How to add a fabric square to make a row

How to sew 2 rows together

Quilting Demos

What happens to the patchwork quilts after they’re pieced together? What is a robotic longarm quilting machine? Here are a couple of video examples of designing, programming, and quilting.

Using ProStitcher Designer software to plan and program quilting designs

Quilting out a design using a robotic longarm sewing machine

Material Interactions: Data-Driven Community Quilting is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.