two itinerant quilters

Lenka Clayton &  Joanna Wright

In the 18th Century itinerant quilters travelled from place to place staying with a family for long enough to create patchwork quilts made from scraps of old clothing, feed-sacks and rags collected from the home.

Two Itinerant Quilters is a long-term documentary project by artists Lenka Clayton and Joanna Wright inspired by this vanished profession. From a temporary workshop set up in a variety of public spaces, the artists invite passers-by to donate a diamond-shaped piece of fabric cut directly from the clothing they happen to be wearing that day. Each fabric fragment is hand-sewn together into a patchwork. The resulting holes are hand-repaired then and there with careful hand-stitches, creating a visible missing patch. 

While the new quilt remains in one place, its negative accompaniment continues to travel. Participants continue to wear their repaired clothes in their everyday lives, creating a living, fragmented quilt.

The quilt grows as the piece is re-performed in public spaces around the globe. So far 450 passers-by have contributed pieces of their clothing to the quilt. Visit the quilt to see the fabric samples and read stories about each one.

During summer 2017 we held three collecting events in Wales and Cornwall funded by The Space: a collaboration between the BBC and Arts Council. Follow us @twoitinerantquilters for updates.

Film of Two Itinerant Quilters, summer 2017