Collaborations with churches, businesses and community organizations have generated meaningful symbols, and helped groups to enhance their sense of identity. Ellen’s design for your group will reflect its particular needs and interests, and can be tailored to most budgets. Large panels and hangings are in her public portfolio, available upon request. Specific commission proposals are submitted after her initial consultation. Ellen can be available for valuable publicity opportunities such as press conferences, which can help to raise the organization’s profile and even enable the work to serve as a fund-raising device.
An important element of the community project is the collection and documentation of contributed memorabilia. A formal book can be commissioned as part of the project, archiving the group’s stories. We will provide a sample letter defining the appropriate contributions and timing, and specific recommendations regarding your collection of materials. We can lead you through the process of solicitation, gathering and annotating the donations, and conveying to us.
Commissioning such a work or series of works has proven to be a powerful bonding experience for many people and groups. Personal effects, filtered in this way, can help us to bridge life’s passages and create meaningful and lasting snapshots of important moments in time.
Ellen is an active member of the Art of Community Pickens County team and a Creative Mentor for the Art of Community- Rural SC. Both projects are overseen by the South Carolina Arts Commission.
SCANA Energy, Columbia, SC
20 metal grid panels 4’ by 6’ to 10’ each, assembled as a transparent maze in the headquarters lobby, using memorabilia contributed by employees.
Under One Roof
Community Building Initiative, Charlotte, NC.
Commemorating their 10th anniversary. Proposed 10 indigo-dyed silk tarps, 4′ x 8′ each, using images and writings from a series of community workshops.
Mercy Hospital, Charlotte, NC
2 hangings for the curved wall of 1st floor elevator lobby, 48” by 92” each, consisting of pages made at employee workshops, using hospital artifacts. Hundreds of beads were created by participants, each committing to their part in the hospital’s transition to a more patient-centered care model, the Planetree Initiative.
Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg, SC
Collective commemoration of textile mill history, 24 wood-framed panels 18″ x 18″ x 6″, commissioned by Hub City Writers Project.
Permanent collection of Museum of Art + Design, NY
2 hangings 15” x 96” x 8.” Book included. Collective sculpture expressing grief and hope of 9/11 with 150 contributors from 40 states and 5 countries.
Gateway Center, Charlotte, NC
6′ high x 24′ wide, consisting of 64 panels with over 700 bundles of memorabilia contributed by bank associates & facility partners. Commissioned by Bank of America.
Clemson Community Patchwork
City of Clemson, SC
6 18-inch panels, 4’ x 6’ overall dimension. 50th anniversary celebration with 54 contributing individuals and organizations. Accompanied by handmade book and location map. Sponsored by Clemson Area Arts Council. Partially funded by the SC Arts Commission with support from NEA. Currently installed at the Clemson Arts Center.
For some time my packrat inclinations, combined with a slightly compulsive tendency to make bundles out of things, had suggested a more sculptural form for my quilts. I find edges mysterious and fascinating. I proposed and received a grant for a project that would commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Clemson, SC, a town nearby to my home. At a press conference we invited any individual, family, or organization in town to contribute to the project. Instead of fabric, we broadened the request to “anything that would fit in this zip-lock bag,” and made some humorous suggestions as examples. The responses were delightful and generated some very exciting loot. I was determined to use each contribution on a single wrapped tile, mapping the contributors in the finished piece, and supplying the map in the accompanying book of stories. After the first year’s display in a very public space, the book was worn out!
Weaving Our Lives Together
First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC.
9′ x 16′ banner. Collected textiles from the congregation, with over 700 contributions.
I plunged into this challenge, fortunately with the great if unproven faith of the large congregation that I would do justice to their treasures. Some instinct had suggested that I had had enough of working with the fairly controllable palette of color and texture a quilter selects for herself. Incongruity and wide variation of fabric types were already a part of my signature, but I had no way of knowing what would come in. It was thrilling to leap into the unknown. Fortunately the space was huge, because the obvious requirement to make sure each contribution was in the quilt at least once resulted in a piece about three times the projected size. The congregation was thrilled, and I confirmed an understanding that has helped me often and has many wider implications…The important choices had nothing to do with color, but with value, the relationships of dark and light, and most of the value decisions make themselves. We made piles of dark and light, and arbitrarily assigned the ambiguous ones. Some of the fabrics were intensely colorful, and we made a separate pile of them, and they kept quilting till we had used some of everyone’s! But the stories, published in an accompanying book, were the compelling part. Each family felt a real commitment and saw their share as important.