If we're to sum up Lynn Carson Harris' ethos, it must be that she strives to use every last piece of fabric. Where others see only piles of scraps, Lynn sees a potential work of art. It's an approach that truly resonates with current thinking and that many of us would do well to adopt.
Lynn lives in Michigan where she creates art, raises chickens and grows vegetables. She explains:
My parents grew up on farms and, like the little red hen in the children’s story, I was taught to do things from scratch and never to let anything go to waste. I create textile art using the techniques employed by past generations of my family to create utilitarian objects such as clothes and quilts. I connect the past to the present and honor the beauty and artistry of the handmade.
Domestic Abuse Quilts: Lynn's most recent work is a series of small scale abstract designs inspired by the experiences of someone she loves and cares about who is in an abusive relationship.
My wish is that these pieces of art can help to prevent domestic abuse by increasing understanding and awareness of this pervasive problem. While all of my pieces are original designs, I turn to the geometric patterns of antique quilts for inspiration.
We're honoured that Lynn chose our Oakshotts for the beautiful quilts shown here - five of the fourteen that currently make up the series. We include small extracts from Lynn's posts: you can read more on her blog.
Whilst you're browsing, please keep in mind that each one measures just 16" square!
Suffer is based on the traditional Crown of Thorns quilt block.
An abused person often endures a lot of suffering. A person suffering from abuse may have a lot of mixed emotions in that they love their abuser but are treated badly. Types of abuse range from physical and emotional, through sexual abuse and coercion, to financial and digital abuse.
Strength - A person in an abusive relationship can show great strength.
It takes great strength to survive each day, to move forward and make a plan, to speak the truth, to keep on with one’s life and move forward when others don’t believe you when you speak up.
Eggshells - The term walking on eggshells means to be overly careful in dealing with a person or situation because they get angry or offended very easily; to try very hard not to upset someone or something.
The most insidious aspect of living with an angry or abusive partner is not the obvious - nervous reactions to shouting, name-calling, criticism or other demeaning behavior. It’s the adaptations one makes to try to prevent those episodes.
Confusion - One common abuse tactic, gaslighting, creates in the target a sense of unreality, confusion and a mindset of not trusting their own perception of the situation. The victim believes things to be one way based on their own perceptions and also believes what the abuser tells them or manipulates them to believe, resulting in anxious confusion.
Pain - Domestic abuse is about controlling someone’s mind and emotions as much as hurting their body. Mental and emotional pain can make it more difficult for a person to use coping skills in abusive situations, and can even weaken their immune system.
Sadly, I cannot fix things for the person in my life who is being abused. But, I can speak up. And I can sew. And hopefully I can make a difference.
Lynn's quilts are routinely juried into international shows and gallery exhibits (including our own!), so do keep a lookout for them. She is also regularly published in books and magazines. If you're inspired by her style, Lynn's book Every Last Piece shows you how to make the most of your own stash in twelve striking projects.