2021: Creating a Lexicon of Future

Q is for Quilting

Ruth Glendinning


I’ve always been rather entranced with the concept of quilting, finding it to be a great metaphor for the activation of capitals far beyond their original material value.

Long reams of manufactured cloth serve their purpose year after year. Cut to fulfill specific purposes, the service continues. Then, one year, the garment loses its strength, falling to pieces. Those pieces, combined with others of a variety of shapes and colors, are then gathered up, joined together to create a unique blanket, and repatterned into a treasure imbued with the history, emotion, hopes, dreams and more of the lives it touched up till this moment.

This is what we do in our lives. After everything falls apart, we collect the pieces and make something new, like a quilt. And that quilt carries the stories with which it was made.

There’s a long history of women gathering together around a quilting table, sharing stories, laughing loud and whispering prayers softly. Imbuing the quilt with their collective energy, as described in the novel How to Make an American Quilt:

An extraordinary and moving novel, How to Make an American Quilt is an exploration of women of yesterday and today, who join together in a uniquely female experience. As they gather year after year, their stories, their wisdom, their lives, form the pattern from which all of us draw warmth and comfort for ourselves.

Bisa Butler: Quilting for Culture

Bisa Butler’s portrait quilts vividly capture personal and historical narratives of Black life.

She strategically uses textiles — a traditionally marginalized medium — to interrogate the historical marginalization of her subjects while using scale and subtle detail to convey her subjects’ complex individuality. Together, Butler’s quilts present an expansive view of history through their engagement with themes such as family, community, migration, the promise of youth, and artistic and intellectual legacies. Bisa Butler: Portraits is the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work and will include over 20 portraits. ~ Bisa Butler: Portraits, Art Institute Chicago

Bisa Butler, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ 2019,



Ruth Glendinning

Community Architect // Poet // Future Story Lab // Lexicon of Future // Anti-Fragile Playbook // Peace Economics // Originator of S.L.O.W. Tech // #womenswork