LESLIE BERNS
The Ocean Showed that All was Connected (Queen Anne's Lace)And the Ocean Showed that All was Connected (Queen Anne's Lace)
close up, IThe Ocean Showed that All was Connected (Queen Anne's Lace)
close up, IIOcean, Bay, River, Branch, StreamProposal: The Northwest BranchProposal: Northwest Branch (close up, I)Proposal: Northwest Branch (close up, II)Blanketing Wells RunMagic Garden Series, FieldMagic Garden Series, Field (close up)Magic Garden Series, XVIIIMagic Garden Series, III
QUILTING THE WATERWAY
2004 - 2007
A series of works, actions and events that address local and global clean water issues through textile arts-related patterns and handwork traditions.



"Quilting the Waterway" first began when I happened to notice crushed 'Magic Garden' dixie cups strewn in the grass at my son's soccer game. I bought more of the colorful cups and started folding and arranging them. Folding cups became my version of knitting - it was work I could bring with me anywhere. I discovered that I could make amazing shapes and beautiful patterns with the cups.

Around the same time, my daughter's math teacher sent home an article illustrating seventeen different types of symmetry mathematicians have identified in Oriental carpets. I began using the folded dixie cup as the motif to explore the many various symmetries.

Symmetry became a vehicle for exploring the idea of multiplicity. The image of 'one within many' speaks to the impact of individual actions on collective consequences while calling to mind the 'butterfly effect'.

I conceived of the cup as an emblem of clean water representing "the life-generating and nurturing powers of the universe...symbolized by the ancient chalice or grail..."*. Everywhere I looked, my attention was drawn to water issues around the world and in my immediate environment.

"Quilting the Waterway" became a body of work that references handwork textile traditions historically done by women in private domestic space, work compatible, hence associated with care giving. I use this reference as a 'conceptual overlay'** for creating works of art in public open space to raise ideas about community and connectivity between people, water and places.


* Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade - Our History, Our Future.
San Francisco: Harper, 1988.

** Lippard, Lucy. Overlay. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.


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