Submitted by: Caron Lage
Inspiration and description for my project:
Not long ago, I was perusing the Internet, when I came across some photos of a display at Reed College out in Portland Oregon. Flags had been placed in the lawn. A red flag for every American who has died in the war, and a white one for every six Iraqis. There were 3055 red flags, and 112,000 white flags. I was overwhelmed.
I don’t live in a hole, I consider myself moderately well informed about the world, but seeing the visual representation of the consequences of war was so much more powerful than hearing, or reading the numbers.
Thus began the haunting. That visual was thought provoking without telling one what to think. It was something to raise awareness about something that is far too easy to ignore on a daily basis. But it was also impermanent. It would most likely be picked up in a few weeks when the lawn needed to be mowed.
Haunt. Haunt. Haunt.
Wait! I’m an artist, what can I do to make something as a visual reminder? My chosen medium is quilting, so it would obviously have to be a quilt of some sort. The rest of that particular brainstorming happened so fast, I can’t describe it for you, except to say I was jumping up and down and dancing the dance of good ideas.
Here’s the idea – A small quilt for each American who has died and on that quilt small french knots to represent each Iraqi. Using the numbers from the Reed display, that’s 3055 little quilts with 212 french knots on each one. The quilts will be made and bound with solid color fabrics. Any color is fine, they represent the soldiers who represent us and we are of every color and ethnicity. The 212 french knots will be made with black thread. I’ve been using 2 strands of embroidery floss, and starting in the center, make a spiral of french knots. Each little quilt will be connected to the next with small brass safety pins. I am putting a purple bead on the safety pin between the quilts to represent the wounded. It’s no where near the actual number of wounded, but, they need to be represented as well.
The idea has evolved a bit – folks are helping me with beads and some decorative machine stitches are ok (Check with me first please with machine stitches) and you can out the knots or beads on the blocks in any non-representational design. I still want the main idea to be a visual reminder of the numbers, and not to dictate anyone’s specific meaning. So, no peace signs, crosses, or doves.
How folks can help:
My family and friends have been incredibly supportive and helpful! And the Internet has brought bits of help from all over the continent. I’m always being amazed with support.
I still need about 1500 more blocks to complete the first branch of this. My goal, for now, is to finish 3100 blocks, because that is how many American military deaths there were when I started the project. When these are done, we can probably start another project of similar size. Another 1000 plus military deaths have occurred and, there wasn’t talk of American contract workers dying when I started this. Last I heard there were at least 1200 who have perished.
So all of that was to explain that YES! I do need help! Go to my tutorial pages and make some blocks!! Drop me an e-mail and I will give you my address to send them in.
I am also looking for venues for the memorial to be seen. It can hang in sections as small as 30 blocks, or any combination really, as the design allows it to be fluid and flexible for any space.
As the project grows and is ready to be seen, I could use monetary help with shipping costs, and insurance while it travels.
Check out my blog for this project at: And Still Counting. Photos, tutorials contact info and updates will be there.