ASL “I Love You” This square is approximately 18”x20”. The background is a blue and teal batik with a scrolling design. Using my own hand as a pattern, I made a hand out of orange and peach batik fabric. After sewing the hand together, stuffing and embellishing it with fingernails and jewelry, I folded the fingers into the ASL “I love you” sign and appliqued the hand onto the blue quilt patch. The square was then framed with a hot pink border and multi-color beads strung on a thin gold thread that bound the edges. Blue glass seed beads are used to quilt the background of the square.
American Patriot This square, "American Patriot" is approximately 4”x4” and is composed of the ADAPT flag framed in a yellow gold batik. The words “American Patriot” are sewn in red with two red stars sewn by each word.
The square is a part of a sash that was made for Yoshiko Dart to wear in the First Annual Disability Pride Parade in Chicago. Yoshiko Dart was Grand Marshal of the Parade.
Living FreeThis finished square is approximately 5.5"x 7" in dimension.
One afternoon I was looking through a bag of fabric "scraps" and decided to make a miniature quilt on deinstitutionalization out of my leftover favorite fabrics. This turned out to be the smallest quilt I’ve ever made. The "mini-quilt" reads "NO MORE NURSING HOMES FOR ME, FROM NOW ON I'M LIVING FREE!” It shows two very small, multi-color houses with flowers in the yard. The square is framed by little 1/4” to 1/2” blocks of batik fabric from my scrap bag.
Justin’s Creativity QuoteThe square is approximately 4”X4” and is composed of a hot pink batik fabric and yellow thread. Although it is simple in construction, its message moves it quite high up on the list of favorites for me.
The square reads “Let us use our creativity to EXPLODE THE TRUTH in the FACE OF THE NATION.” - Justin Dart, Jr.
This square is approximately 4”x 5” and is hand appliqued. The background fabric is a lime green batik. The image is of two youth with disabilities, one wheelchair user the other has a non-apparent disability. The wheelchair users’ wheel is made of a purple peace sign. He is wearing a fuchsia shirt. The girl in the image is standing and wearing a red dress with gold swirls. She has outrageous pink hair. The words “LEAD ON!” are hand sewn in the same color as the boys shirt.
Justin Dart Jr.'s final charge to the Disability Community "LEAD ON!" speaks to all of us, but most importantly to our youth. This square is also a part of the sash I made for Yoshiko Dart to wear in the 2004 Disability Pride Parade.
A place of our own, a place to call home, it's what we all want. Whether it's a little house with a white picket fence or an apartment in a high-rise building, if it's yours, its home. In the blue sky we see the words "A place all my own" and "institutions are not a part of my American Dream" in the grass below the house. The picture illustrates a very unique house, one that is decorated with stripes and polka dots, and the colors include sea foam green, brick and cream. There's a patio door in the front with a hanging flower basket in the window and tulips growing in the front yard. The square is approximately 4”x6” and is a part of the quilted Parade Marshal sash I made for Yoshiko Dart in 2004.
Our Homes Not Nursing HomesThis square is approximately 11" x 14.5" in dimension. It is an image of a stone house with a copper roof and puffs of smoke (gray french knots) are coming out of the chimney. The square is framed in hot pink and reads “OUR HOME NOT NURSING HOMES.”
ADAPT's chants are often my inspiration for quilt squares. Although we may not all want to be "home owners" we want "our own homes." I often think I could make an entire quilt of OUR HOMES NOT NURSING HOMES squares!
"Disability Pride Parade"
This square is approximately 16”x16”. it was used as the logo for the Inaugural Disability Pride Parade held in Chicago, IL. Contingents from eight states and Canada were registered and over 1,500 people participated. The square is orange with purple letters. Down the left side of the square it reads "UNIFIED" and along the bottom are the words "in PRIDE" and underneath that the date "July 18, 2004". At the top of the square it reads "Disability Pride Parade Chicago". There are four characters on the print. Two use wheelchairs (with peace signs in the wheels) one uses crutches and one, well, one, you can't really tell, can you? Is she deaf? Does she have a visual disability or a non-apparent disability? Maybe she's a family member or an ally. We'll never know...all are dressed in bright colors such as yellow, purple, lime green, hot pink, stripes, and batiks.
Disabled and Proud
Disability Pride is more than just the opposite if shame. To have pride means believing that our bodies, minds, whole persons and identities are beautiful, right for us, and are a validation of our experience. "DISABLED AND PROUD" is one square of four that completes a beaded handbag I made for myself. The square is made of purple polkadot batik fabric. The image on the square is of a wheelchair user who is wearing a teal top and holding a placard the reads “disabled and proud.” It is about 4”x4.”
LNothing About Us Without UsSome people believe the origin of the saying is African while others say its Polish. Regardless of where it came from, this saying has become a part of our Disability Culture everywhere. The Mango hand imprint with purple stitching is on fabric called "Mayan Sisterhood". The fabric has traces of gold, purple, aqua, light green and yellow. The figures in the print are holding hands and there are small hand prints in the fabric as well. This square is three dimensional - at the base of the wrist is a ball of recycled threads and scraps that I meshed together to make this cuff. The square s about 16”x16”.
The Braille Alphabet
This square is approximately 12”X 18”. The Braille Alphabet is hand sewn on an apricot batik fabric with a cream scrolling design. Shades of beige and light browns fade in and out of the design. The Braille is done in white buttons that are ¼ inch in diameter. It also indicates the birth and death years of Louis Braille.
Equality Not Charity"Equality Not Charity" is a slogan used throughout the Movement. It seems particularly popular during Telethon season. This square composed of a green, blue and berry batik fabrics and is approximately 4"x 4" and is hand appliqued. It is also one part of a 4 square piece that comprises a handbag I made for myself.
Celebrating the 14th anniversary of the ADA, this quilt square is one of four that composes the handbag made for the first Annual Disability Pride Parade in Chicago in 2004. This square, made of orange batik, is approximately 4”x4.” The image on the square is of a pastel birthday cake on a hot pink platter with gold stars. The cake is outlined in lime green and a deep purple “ADA 14” is on the cake. Link green scalloped icing lines the cake and it is topped with bright blue lit candles. Bright blue thread next to the cake reads “7.26.04”
ADA 15 Years This quilt square is approximately 8.5”x8.5” It is made with all batik fabrics. The pink and yellow three-tiered cake with green candles rests on an orange platter with lime green trim. Metallic Threads and small glass seed beads add dimension.
Concrete ChangeThis square is approximately 25”x 40”. The background is made of a purple batik with a pattern of pale blue and teal moons and stars. There are two houses side by side and both are “visitable.” One has a tall pine tree nearby and the other a small berry bush. The slogan “Visitability...get in and pee” which is a basic accessibility need of wheelchair users is sewn in the grass and in the sky are the words “CONCRETE CHANGE” in orange.
Eleanor Smith is a leader in the concept of visitability and universal design. She founded the organization Concrete Change.
MiCASSAThis quilt square reads "THE TIME FOR MiCASSA IS NOW." The scene is an institution wrapped in chains with flying, colorful clocks and two keys hanging from the S's in MiCASSA. This is indicating that "Supports and Services" are the "keys" to our freedom. The words from "...raging against the dying of the light" outline the institution.
Gift for MarcaThe square is approximately 10”x12” . The center of the square is hot pink and has a quote by Marca Bristo hand sewn in light blue thread. It reads “For most of history, society has defined us. Those days are gone. We are defining ourselves now.” The center of the square is framed by a patchwork of bright batiks outlined in darker glass seed beads creating a stained glass look.
When I worked on the Youth Team at Access Living, Marca regularly participated in the sessions with our youth which made a lasting impression on them. She was and continues to be an incredible role model for them as well as for me. I made this square to recognize her accomplishments and leadership. Marca Bristo is President and Chief Executive Officer at Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago as well as nationally and internationally acclaimed leader in the Disability Rights Movement. She is the recipient of three presidential appointments and one congressional appointment to disability policy positions. She has received too many awards and recognitions to name them all here but the Distinguished Service Award from the President of the United States is most noteworthy. When I worked at Access Living, although I was many “rungs” beneath her, I was proud to say I worked for her.