Hey friends, I created this piece a while back but for some reason, I never shared it with you. It’s called “Readers are Leaders”. Here’s a look at this work and a few detail shots to help you appreciate the work.
This piece is one of my larger works. Back in 2021, I started venturing into creating large scale pieces. This piece measures 65″ x 54″, way too big for my domestic sewing machine. At the time I created it I didn’t have my Handi Quilter Moxie (aka Mimi). So, I had to wrangle this large piece through my domestic machine.
Due to its size it took a couple of months for me to finish it. During this period, I spent most of my time stitching the background. The size of the work and the time it took to create it, challenged me to come up with a wide variety of stitch patterns that will make the background interesting and keep the eye moving around. As a result, I found it really rewarding when this piece was finished. Because I got to push my technique a little bit further.
I created this piece to encourage the youth to pursue excellence. “Readers are Leaders” is a phrase that I often use with the youth in my life when I’m advising, encouraging and trying to get them to strive for excellence.
Consequently, I chose an Adinkra symbol which represents excellence to bring home this point. Then, I used the symbol to create the graphic black border you see around the edges of the piece. The interesting thing about this symbol is that it doesn’t just represent excellence. It references excellence in craftsmanship with regards to hand woven cloth. I need not tell you how much this connection to textile arts makes me love this symbol even more.
In addition to encouraging the youth to read, I wanted to help them find books they’ll enjoy reading. It’s not only important to read, it’s important to read books which act as both windows and mirrors. For all of us, not just the youth, we need to acquire knowledge (read books) which reflect us, that is books which affirm who we are. Additionally, we broaden our world view when we read about other cultures and people who are different from us. For young Black kids to fall in love with reading they need to find this duality in the books they read.
So, friend, this is exactly what I created this piece to convey. “Readers are Leaders” encourages kids to read. While at the same time encouraging authors, and educators to write/give books which meet these criteria. This piece has been featured in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Also, it’ll be traveling with SAQA Global exhibitions. It will premier at International Quilt Festival in Houston – Fall 2022.