21st Century Folk Art: Foreclosure Quilts

quiltsQuilts often contain symbolic worlds reflecting aspects of the broader community or society. Artist Kathryn Clark creates “foreclosure quilts”, which are based on maps of cities, with holes representing foreclosed homes:

From 1999 to 2004, I worked for a private urban planning firm designing New Urbanist neighborhoods throughout the US. In 2007, as foreclosures began to occur I questioned my work. Did I add to this in some way? I was aware early on that these foreclosures were just the beginning of something bigger yet I felt alone when I mentioned it. Few agreed with me or seemed concerned.

It was important to me to present the whole story in a way that would captivate people’s attention and make a memorable statement. Making quilts seemed an ironic solution. Quilts act as a functional memory, an historical record of difficult times.

The quilt is pieced together using patterns of neighborhood blocks taken from RealtyTrac maps. Within these, foreclosed lots are shown as holes in the quilts.

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