Daniel High School

Bird by Bird

Clemson, SC. Honors English class.

Paper quilt using pages from student themes on the process of writing.

2 panels 40” x 40” | 1998

As an artist I believe we don’t make progress until we learn to shred our original assumptions. Volunteering for a project in my son’s 10th grade honors English class led them and me to a variation on this concept, having to do with writing. Each student wrote about the act of writing…how they make themselves think, where they like to sit, anything describing how they go about it. We talked about the editing process, and asked for both the original draft and the finished copy. The handwritten and typed pages were run through a copier, so the backs of the pages had coded sections drawn from the fold lines of an origami bird (an image of creativity). Then the students cut up and reassembled the fragments as collage squares of text, which were collected into a paper quilt.