The Haven Quilt was a collaboration between artist Sean Rubin and myself during our 2014-15 residency at New City Arts Initiative. The idea was to start with a blank quilt and fill it over the course of our residency time. Anyone in The Haven community (guests, volunteers, or staff) could contribute a “square.”
We provided: (1) a plain cloth with a pinwheel pattern lightly penciled onto the surface to provide a simple structure, (2) three cardboard templates so that contributors could cut out shapes to fit the pinwheels, (3) Fabric- scrounged and donated (4) Fabric markers, sharpies, pencils, and any fluff that seemed useful.
From the beginning, I had a sense that the quilt could be a beautiful community portrait, but only if we controlled as few variables as possible. I felt a strong urge to let the quilt form slowly; no deadlines and no strict rules about content. And this seemed to fit the pace of events at the shelter: fits and starts and waiting.