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  • Writer's pictureTilly@ZTP

Quarantine Quilt - Ancient crafts in the Instagram age

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

During Lockdown #1 I noticed a callout on Instagram for submissions to a collective quilt project. It was called the Quarantine Quilt, and the idea was for each patch maker to design and make a patch on the theme of links, chains and connections and they would all be stitched together after lockdown to create a record of this moment in time. I created a piece and followed the development of the overall project with great joy, witnessing each new submission be posted on Insta with a description of the symbolism from the maker.


After seeing images of the full quilt, all finished and glorious, I've been thinking about the project and it's relationship with instagram; this social media tool can absorb so much of our time and (to some people) gives little back but cold hands and a feeling of not being enough compared to those we've just seen there. The women who founded Quarantine Quilt used instagram to launch the project and reach makers, and to feedback to their locked down community the submissions as they came in. Instagram's grid looks quite a lot like a quilt the way it patches together the images side by side, and since Quarantine Quilt requested a square patch design you end up with a very similar effect in both the real quilt and the projects instagram grid of peoples photographed submissions.


I think this creates such a pleasing mirror between the digital and physical realms that we inhabit. Ten years ago before Instagrams grid style became the most recognisable image layout ever, this quilt would have remained solely in the realms of 'crafty'. However because of that visual association with the IG grid, I think it adds a contemporary shade to the finished piece. To me this has become a really positive and progressive experience of Instagram, rather than just as a place to show our best selves, our best work; instead this project seems to accomodate a yin and yang of digital and physical space, an interconnected balance of these two spaces creating a whole, beautiful project rich with human stories, and a quilt which will hold value and interest for as long as it holds together. Quilts can well outlive us and I Iike to imagine the children of tomorrow looking over this one, when the Insta account is long lost in the datasphere, speculating on the meaning behind the various patches and picking out their favorites to conjure up new imagined stories. What started as a record of the lockdown, and then merged with the Black Lives Matter movement can go on to be part of many more stories in the future and attach itself to life experiences and significant relationships not yet created.

This short film captures the founders intention for the project and some of the stories that have been stitched into it including my own.

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