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I'd really rather sew than eat, or a lot of other things!

solo exhibition in UAB's Art Lab, Dept of Art and Art History

January - March 2024

The title for this show was taken from a letter my maternal grandmother wrote to her Aunt Edna in 1966, thanking Edna for teaching her to sew. I didn't know my maternal grandmother (I call her Hannie) because she died when I was 2. But when I returned home to Birmingham in 2010, I embarked on my own discovery of sewing and pieced together a relationship with Hannie that comforts me in her absence. This show contained quilts, wall-hangings, community projects, embroideries, garments, paintings, and 14 years worth of sewing and design discoveries.

Images from exhibition

My favorite work from the show is highlighted below.

Cast your net, it shall bring tales

The acts of piecing, embellishing, and hand-quilting are for me practical tasks that put my physical body in motion, clearing space for metaphysical discovery. The fisherman casts his nets so as to set in motion the task of collecting fish, and in the space between casting and hauling there is quiet and time for looking to the stars; dreaming and pondering. To build this quilt, I sorted and organized thirteen years worth of scraps (86 unique textiles); assembled intuitively and methodically. Only when the top was sewn and partially filled with unplanned, embroidered forms did a narrative emerge, helped along by conversations with my husband, my truest partner in metaphysical discovery. The epic tale of Odysseus and Penelope was a touchstone during our long courtship, and thus there is a personal mythology embroidered here, but I urge the viewer: cast your net, it shall bring tales.

Cast Your Net_1.jpg

Kaleidoscope series

When I was a kid, a kaleidoscope could entrance me for hours. The combination of overwrought colors and sacred geometry, fluidly transitioning from one satisfying array to infinitely more pleasing symmetries was just what my brain needed to release its store of dopamine. And if honest-to-god plastic "gems" were part of the random collection of tidbits at the kaleidoscope's base, all the better. I've learned recently from the inestimable Natalie Wynn (ContraPoints on YouTube), that I’m in the “Opulence” camp; hence my approach to quilting. This whole-cloth, hand-quilted piece is a digital print on cotton sateen. I took a watercolor sketch and created kaleidoscopic snapshots with an app on my phone, next manipulating the colors in Photoshop. The digital stuff is for the fast part of my brain and the hand-quilting thankfully slows my brain down again. And best of all, the result takes me back to dreamily twisting a kaleidoscope.


Babukeshi is a project born from my work with UAB Arts in Medicine. From 2014 to 2020, I taught embroidery to patients, family caregivers, and staff across UAB hospital. I witnessed the healing power of the arts first-hand. After a trip to Oaxaca in 2016, I started researching and conceiving a project that would honor ancestors, both real and chosen. Babukeshi is a word I coined to mean “ancestor doll”. The Babukeshi wall hanging is a collage of my illustrations after visiting Oaxaca and Tanzania. After reading a letter that my grandmother wrote to her aunt, I turned to my own ancestors for inspiration. In 2024, Babukeshi as a body of work continues to be an on-going research into what it means to commune with one’s ancestors. I never knew Anne Elizabeth Kling Howard (maternal grandmother who I call Hannie) but she was an avid sewist and I feel like my own obsession with fiber arts is a thread that binds us.

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