gingham banners


m/other hand applique and cross stitch on gingham, 800 x 800mm, 2018.


make and make again hand applique and cross stitch on gingham, 800 x 800mm, 2018.


with hold hand applique and cross stitch on gingham, 800 x 800mm, 2018.




detail of motherload-motherlode compost build, coffee grinds, garden green waste, house hold papers, horse poo, baby’s first haircut, kitchen scraps, straw, embroidery threads, seaweed… Autumn Exquinox 2018.


motherload-motherlode cross stitched cover, found sacking with thread salvaged from potato bags

IMG_8678 copy.jpgmotherload-motherlode compost was distributed at the conclusion of my Artist Residency in Motherhood, Beltane 2018.

‘To see a crazy is to want to make one’: (re)imagining mothering and other creative acts through the metaphor of the crazy quilt


Research paper submitted towards Bachelor Fine Arts Honours, Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand, October 2012


The first impression is of an expansive, undulating, kaleidoscopic landscape. Reveling in excessiveness, the complexity of the quilt is astonishing. Closer inspection reveals a cacophony of disparate fragments; many different coloured and patterned fabrics, carefully pieced together and held in place by an array of hand embroidered stitches. These alluring tracks of stitching beg to be explored, offering the potential for a myriad flights of fancy across this intricate landscape. In some places the patterns and colours clash—there is a disruption, something doesn’t sit quite right, perhaps the pattern is particularly crooked, confused or confounded – however, follow the path of stitching around further and suddenly in a different place, the colours of the fabric and considered composition sing together in complex harmony.

Crazy quilting is the term for a kind of patchwork created from a collection of irregular pieces of fabric, which are pieced together without the guidance of a predetermined pattern or a regular design. As each patch varies in shape, size, fabric, and colour or pattern, this method of construction enables an infinite variety of unique patterns. Once pieced together the seams and patches of the crazy quilt are then usually heavily embellished with different embroidered stitches, motifs, ribbons, buttons, charms, and more. The crazy quilt is one of the most unusual kinds of patchwork. Its very name, crazy, could mean insane—or clever [1]. 

Over the course of this year, the crazy quilt has emerged as a metaphor for the context, intentions, processes and outputs of my practice. The form this essay takes is an extension of this metaphor. The order of the different pieces of the essay are not necessarily intended to be read in a linear way. I particularly want to emphasize the tentativeness of this structure, which is consistent with my overall intention to leave space for connections I have not yet made and things I do not yet know.

Starting out

Motherhood might slow down art. Children might interrupt those moments of concentration. We’re not saying this is the easiest path to take, but we flatly refuse to agree with the idea that becoming a mother is the end because it is not. It is the beginning [2].

I began the year holding to this pronouncement made by Bee Lavendar and Maia Rossini in the introduction to their book, Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts. The mother of a toddler, tactically re/turning to university with the view that this would give me the necessary time and space to reengage with and develop my creative practice, I was particularly conscious that motherhood required me to find different ways of thinking about and being-becoming creative.

As Sally Galman explains in her essay, “Now You See Her, Now You Don’t”: The Integration of Mothering, Spirituality, and Work, the metaphor of balancing scales dominates much of the thinking about the spaces across and between work life and home life and this inevitably sets up these two spheres in competition [3]. Galman calls attention to the necessity of problematizing the concept of balance as an important part of the feminist project, asking whose agenda this notion serves when mainstream culture privileges the workplace and the ‘life’ side of ‘work/life balance’ is often constructed as malleable and will be most easily manipulated to mirror the metaphorical ‘weight’ of the ‘work’ side of the scale [4]. Galman argues that rather than trying to balance the ‘work/life balance’, we should instead seek to transform the binary itself. ‘We need […] new metaphors to guide our thinking; otherwise […] the unconscious and unconsidered metaphors that make up our language will do our thinking for us.’ [5]

The crazy quilt is my attempt to imagine a more useful and empowering metaphor to describe and understand my recent experience of the relationship between mothering and creative work—one that encompasses the inherent complexity, contradictions, ambivalence, and ambiguity of my embodied situation. Rather than become reactionary and fixate on solving the problems, I set about identifying boundaries (linguistic and otherwise) and considering how to I might navigate them. I determined to adopt a responsive, affirmative approach this year, to find ways through, opening up spaces to make work/speak from, with the view that this process of expansion will enable me better sustain my creative practice beyond this year at university.

Piece: A quilt covers the bed: reframing the domestic as creative and productive space

I am motivated by a desire to give real meaning to my creative work. Positing my creative practice as a tool for thinking, a physical manifestation of my thoughts/feelings, and a form of orientation—a way of negotiating my relation to the world—enabling exploration and communication of self within an immediate community and environment [6].

I am interested in drawing on the principles of autoethnography, where the researcher explores their personal experiences and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political and social meanings and understandings. I came into the year with the intention of making autobiographical work. I want to be clear about my positionality and bring my lived, embodied experiences to the centre of my creative practice—to treat my body (the point of overlap between the physical, the symbolic and the sociological) [7] as the text. It is important for me to be operating in a context where the intersectionality of our identities is acknowledged and where subjectivity is also understood as capable of change, construction and invention. Here the self is seen as being in a constant process of becoming, rather than being seen as predetermined, fixed and static. My hope is that through the creative process I might be able to generate more viable and sustainable subject positions for myself as a mother-artist. In her book, Nomadic Subjectivity, feminist philosopher Rosi Braidotti suggests that it is the will to know, the desire to say, the desire to speak, ultimately, the desire to become that sustains this process of becoming-subject [8]. Writer and performance artist bell hooks reiterates this when she says:

We have to consider “positionalities” that are shaking up the idea that any of us are inherently anything—that we become who we are […] a lot of my work views the confessional moment as a transformative moment—a moment of performance where you might step out of the fixed identity in which you were seen, and reveal other aspects of the self [9].

The first output for me this year was a zine called Opening Up: A birth story (2012). It is a (stuttering) position statement locating birthing/becoming-a-mother as a productive and creative act. Opening Up (2012) was a likely place for me to begin making work as I re/turned to university—drawing a thread backwards and forwards between the various different spaces of my life. It was a space from which to begin exploring new directions I might take. This zine operated as a metaphorical and actual opening up for me. It reframed how I positioned myself. Rather than feeling as though there was no place for me to speak about my reality in the academic environment, making this zine created an opening for conversation and dialogue. It was an offering that gave me something to share with others and subsequently reflect on and discuss.

Crazy quilts are pieced, appliquéd or otherwise fitted on a background fabric but they can also be constructed in other ways, including with no fabric foundation at all [10].

Further to being clear about my positionality in my creative practice is the challenge to not simply focus on what is before me, but to re/orientate myself to that which is behind and around me. This is significant because as Sara Ahmed explains:

[The background is] produced by acts of relegation: some things are relegated to the background in order to sustain a certain direction; in other words, in order to keep attention on what is faced. Perception involves such acts of relegation that are forgotten in the very preoccupation with what it is that is faced [11].

I want to acknowledge what it takes to get to the worktable/studio as a mother—if of course I make it there at all. However, when I do get there I do not leave my child, home life and other concerns at the door. I hold all parts of myself with me at all times. The concern is to not simply ignore, dismiss or take account of these things as some kind of weight that might hold me back in my creative work—but rather bring them to the fore. Just as it is possible to construct a crazy quilt without the aid of a background piece of fabric, I have been interested in piecing together what is in the background and make it the actual foreground of my work.

My public poster project, Next Time Won’t You Sing With Me (2012) is an example of this tactic. Standing in front of the poster wall the viewer is confronted with the background of the work both literally and spatially.

Piece: Collecting scraps of fabric: pieced work and making do

You’re normal, we tell you; we know how it is to feel so fragmented, so at the beck and call of the needs of children. We know how impossible it is to feel oneself a writer when one is hardly a self anymore; when physical tasks and sleep deprivation and the need to be always available all conspire to rob young mothers of the ability to carry thoughts to their conclusions, or even to finish a simple spoken sentence, to keep in mind, one second to the next, where a thought was headed.” [12]

Fragmentation is a condition of motherhood. As Ahmed explains, attention involves a political economy. The constant threat of interruption affects what mothers can do once they arrive at the worktable/studio [13]. Given this fragmentation of attention, it is essential to try and let go of my previous expectations and fears of what is important in terms of how a creative practice works—to somehow leave the uninterrupted hours previously given to creative work, to not expect to have such a high output and to accept that things take longer to complete but that they are nonetheless still worth while pursuing. Hence, my process this year has been based around going some way towards figuring out how to utilize (even design for) fragmentation as a core part of my creative practice.

Writer Ingrid Wendt offers mothers her thoughts on a possible approach to creative work:

What if we could just lower our standards enough to write down, every now and then, that one good line flitting through our consciousness before it floats out of reach […] What if we could be more delicate in our collection of those little language scraps, those spices, those pieces of fabric, and when we had a moment or two away from the kids, or the bills, or the job, we could sort through and cluster and group them, just as the quilter puts together pieces of cloth, or a cook, the saved ingredients. It’s not something we often hear about, this way of writing, though I’ve little doubt there are other writers who’ve learned, like me, to write by doing piecework, who’ve learned to trust the unconscious mind to have a logic all it’s own. Writer’s who’ve found that after days or weeks or longer of collecting words, lines, images, we can see patterns emerging: themes, subjects, recurring thoughts, new angles on old ideas. They add up to something. For me, for us, writing as ‘an act of discovery’ is the process of discovering that sum [14].

Collecting is something I have long been in the habit of doing. The raw material for my creative work comes from orienting myself to that which is readily available to me as a mother-artist—the personal/domestic/everyday/local/commonplace. These pieces of cultural ephemera, which could easily be dismissed as trivial, are then transformed through the creative process, much as the collection of fabric scraps are transformed in the making of the crazy quilt.

I see a clear a connection between Wendt’s notion of pieced work and the creative process associated with zine making. The zine medium seems to be a good fit for the demands of parenthood as it can also be fit around the other responsibilities of my life. At this point in time I am not concerned with getting hung up about making the “best” work of my life (whatever that might be). Zines especially appeal because they do not demand perfection—their literary and material tone tends to be informal, playful and provisional [15]. The idea for me is to take charge of the present and regardless of the material conditions of my life not be stopped from pursing a creative practice—to make do and find ways through. The zine medium captures the flux, contradiction and fragmentation of my situation, and utilizes these not as problems to be resolved but as a source of creative energy. Zine making has enabled me to experience the pleasure of coming to voice as a mother-artist, albeit in an experimental, partial and incomplete way.

The interesting thing that starts to happen with this kind of pieced work approach is that over time all the bits and pieces may start to add up to something else which is more significant. I have noticed this with my periodical zine, Glean (2012). Over the issues I have made so far, a body of work is beginning to accumulate and gather momentum. My task is to continue paying attention and to respond, clarify and extend the lines of enquiry that are taking place within this publication.

Piece: The crazy quilt has no predetermined pattern

When constructing a crazy quilt one does not rely on the guidance of a predetermined pattern. Whereas other forms of patchwork rely on tidy patches marching across the quilt, evenly spaced and neatly matched, the crazy revels in irregular bits and pieces strewn in seemingly disorganized fashion [16]. There is no overview of the process from the beginning, patterns and rhythms emerge and expand through the process of making. As the pieces of fabric are not cut to fit and may be odd shapes, the creative process can be disorienting/reorienting. There is room for awkwardness, mistakes, and failure and revision.

My insight into the value and creativity of playfulness and presence comes from my recent experiences of parenting. As I have already mentioned, being able to plan specific outcomes or even see things through to their logical conclusion becomes increasingly difficult as a mother. With this in mind it has been my intention to adopt a disposition of playfulness in my creative practice this year—to be open to experimentation, the possibility of making mistakes, or maybe even doing something I don’t like.

Educational theorist Elizabeth Ellsworth explains psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott’s notion of play as a transitional space. Winnicott holds that play allows a person to develop a sense of aliveness, giving them the capacity to access the world around them and use it creatively and responsibly rather than simply comply with it [17]. Play as a transitional space:

[A]llows us to use the environment to get lost in oneself, to make a spontaneous gesture, to get interested in something new, to surprise oneself, to organize bits of experience into a temporarily connected sense of self and then to allow those bits to “un-integrate” so that they can be surprised by themselves and reconfigured in new ways [18].

Graphic designer Shelia Levrant de Bretteville describes how she likes her working process to surprise and teach her, leading her to solutions she could not have totally predicted at the outset [19]. This playful way of working requires a detachment from predetermined outcomes. Rather than having something particular in mind to begin with, to let the work take lead me somewhere. This process it necessitates a kind of openness/presence, the ability to be with the materials and to consider what they are asking of me—to suspend immediate judgment of them as either bad or good; to hold the various scraps of fabric in my attention; and to investigate them in a variety of different places and relationships.

The experience of making my public poster project Next Time Won’t You Sing With Me (2012), was a turning point with regards to more fully embracing this disposition of playfulness. I was interested in possibility of doing a public poster project this year. I had been working away on some ideas using embroidered text on a fabric background. However I was having difficulty figuring out how to use text in a way that was that was not overly polemical. Meanwhile, I continued with my practice of collecting things. All around me on the walls of my studio, this material was gathering. At this stage it seemed like there were a number of disparate threads of interest going on—family snapshots, musicians I idolize, domestic clutter, advertising and pop-culture imagery. The question inevitably became—what happens if all this stuff were to be stitched together? One day I literally pulled everything off the walls, shuffled it and put it back up on the wall, incidentally in a kind of grid. Immediately I was surprised—it captured something of what I had been thinking about and trying to communicate. My initial intention was achieved through a visual language/aesthetic that was strikingly different from the mode I would usually work in. The result of successfully embracing playfulness in my work this year is that I have been genuinely surprised and occasionally delighted by the work I have made.

Crazy quilts are addictive […] they are full of surprises. I’ve seen something new in every crazy quilt I’ve ever looked at – a new stitch combination, a new embellishment motif, a new fabric, a new painting technique, some new ribbon work […] the list goes on and on [20].

The extension of an experimental playful process is to be open to the possibility of making mistakes, failure or doing something I do not like. Paul Elliman suggests that like life itself, design must allow space for inconsistencies, mistakes, disruption and “uselessness”. [21]

The acceptance failure as an often-unnoticed contribution to creative work was exemplified through my recent experience of working with a local billposter company. After the experience of putting up Next Time Won’t You Sing With Me (2012) on one of their commercial street sites, I became increasingly interested in the negative space/gaps that often remained around the commercial posters on display. I designed a series of crazy patchwork blocks with the idea that the billposter company could use these instead of their usual black paper as the filler that inhabits the in-between space. I provided them with the posters and install instructions (including photos of a mock up version) and then handed over the execution of the project to their staff. The result was mixed. There seemed to be an immediate confusion about whether these posters were in fact filler for the background of the poster sites or whether they were in actually posters needing to be pasted up in the foreground. Across the spread of sites where the filler posters went up there emerged several variations on the theme—sometimes the filler poster were in the background, sometimes in the foreground alongside the commercial posters on display, and occasionally they appeared to be operating as both background and foreground simultaneously on one site. However, these unexpected outcomes can be the best things that happen when making work. The disruptions of meaning contribute to the development of the work and reveal other possible, unforeseen meanings.

Piece: With their tendency toward embellishment and embroidery, crazies demand even more time than the average project

Crazy quilts are known for being particularly labour intensive. They require more materials, stitches, time and patience than other more ‘sane’ styles of patchwork. With Crazy quilting there is almost an infatuation in the work for its own sake. Crazy quilts get better the more you add, and they are only finished when you can’t stand working on them anymore [22].

In, Queer Phenomenology, Sara Ahmed unpacks the process of an objects arrival, describing how becomes easy to overlook or dismiss the labour that went into the arrival of an object (‘what comes before’), in the complete givenness of the object as ‘what is before’ us in a spatial sense [23].

Zines are particularly interesting in this regard. Given their low-fi production values, it is all too easy to assume that they took minimal time and effort to produce. Alison Piepmeier observes that on the contrary, zines are often time consuming to make and involve considerable engagement with material processes. In a culture that celebrates ease and efficiency, zine makers are choosing to take part in a process that is deliberately messy, inefficient and labour-intensive. She suggests that the reason zine creators are willing to expend this effort in the making process is because of the pleasure they derive from it [24]. I would certainly agree with this—the pleasure of creating a zine is an embodied pleasure. I like paper; I like laying out my zine. I have a thing for photocopiers, for feeling the warmth permeate my body as I clutch a stack of freshly copied paper to my chest. I also like taking the time to fold and staple my zines by hand—imbuing the object with a blessing for that receiver.

All this said, I would not want to downplay the struggle that can sometimes be involved making a zine—especially when that activity is connected to the process of coming to voice. The experience of making my first zine Opening Up: A birth story (2012) was a difficult and time-consuming creative process. I had not considered how emotional it would be to re-engage with the material. I can identify with Nomy Lamm as she describes how she agonized long and hard over what to include in her zine [25]. While making Opening Up (2012), I was concerned with how the material would be read and by whom. This in turn affected which aspects of my experience I wanted to share, emphasize, and perhaps even rewrite. Although they may not be fictional, it is important to understand zines as completely strategic, complex literary artifacts not straight forward records of what happened or ‘who I am’ [26]. On reflection the painfulness of birthing Opening Up (2012) was probably inevitable given the closeness of the material and my desire to honour, as well as process more deeply, certain aspects of this transformative life experience. In many ways, Opening Up (2012) operates as a kind of memorial.

Crazy quilts often become a repository of memories and beliefs, the process of their arrival is literally stitched into their materiality.

Ahmed notes that the process of arrival shapes the form the object takes. Almost as though it has a sticky surface, an object picks up things along the way that show where it has traveled and what it has come into contact with: [27]

You bring your past encounters with you when you arrive. In this sense an arrival has not simply happened; and arrival points toward a future that might or “perhaps” will happen, given that we don’t always know in advance “what” we will come into contact with when we follow this or that line [28].

As the name would suggest, Glean (2012), works as a kind of commonplace book-cum scrapbook—recording my orientation and journeying in various directions. As Piepmeier notes, zines as a site of theoretical work are not bound by formal or editorial constraints and their ongoing production over long periods of time means there is more time to explore ideas [29]. Glean (2012) collects the things I come into contact with along the way—my location and movement becomes embedded into the object.

The physical labour and careful attention to detail that goes into the making of a zine results in a handmade object that, despite being ephemeral and disposable, is simultaneously precious (zines often accrue value and become increasingly difficult to throw away). That the zine has actually been touched by the hand of the creator (rather than coming from a factory or machine) creates a greater sense of intimacy and allegiance between the creator and reader [30]. All this highlights the embodied nature of zines, and that they need to be read, not just as literary texts, but also according to their materiality.

Piece: To see a crazy is to want to make one

In an interview with a reporter from The Olean Democrat, Olean, New York, conducted in 1883, an unnamed quilter when asked the question, ‘Why is this style called a Crazy quilt?’ answered that ‘Because to see a Crazy is to want to make one.’ [31]

Zines are concerned with the creation of culture, especially perhaps where there is an otherwise inadequate representation of self in the world. To return to the framework of Winnicott, zines can be seen to be operating as transitional objects because they provide their makers with a set of tools to say the things that are not being said elsewhere:

We use transitional objects to imaginatively put our selves in a transformative relation with the outside [they help us] with the effort and risk of being in relation to things, people, and events that make [us] feel insecure, and this [makes] it possible to actively engage in the outside world [32].

For me, zine making is a way to express and assert agency over cultural meanings associated with my subjectivity and perspective; and to connect to an embodied community that will give support to this redefined subjectivity. As Braidotti explains the formation of new social subjects is always a collective, interactive enterprise [33].

An inherent agenda of the zine medium is the disruption of the usual conventions of the writer/reader relationship. Zine culture is vitally concerned with encouraging readers to become creators and thus to be active participants in the dialogue happening in their communities [34]. Here the writer does not speak with an authoritarian voice and the reader is not assumed to be a passive consumer. ‘[M]eaning production […] does not function in terms of the author’s “intention” and the readers “reception,” but rather in a much wider, more complex set of possible resonances and interconnections.’ [35] Zines operate in a space where everyone is seen to have potential as a producer of culture.

Before I made zines, I read them. However, it was not long after beginning to read zines that I found myself wanting to make them. What is it about zines that compels readers to become creators? For me, it was the imperfection the medium that immediately appealed. This messiness helps to humanize the creator to the extent where I started to wonder—if they can do it, then I maybe I can too?

Even before my son was born, I aspired to making a zine to share my birth story. I wanted to continue the spirit of generosity of those women whose birth stories I had read when I was pregnant. To my delight, after reading Opening Up (2012), several people felt inspired to share their stories too:

I finished reading your birth story this afternoon, and I just wanted to say—wow! And thank you so much for sharing it with me. I was really moved by it, and had a bit of a cry too. It is beautifully written and the photos are so emotional and powerful. It took me right back to my own pregnancy and birth experience […] I feel really inspired to write my own birth story, so hopefully I will be able to reciprocate!

This reciprocality and personalism of the zine medium, as shown by the time and care this person took to think about, and then reply to the creator, highlights another aspect of zine culture. Zines are not consumer items; rather they operate within a gift economy. The emphasis is on modes of production, distribution and exposure that operate on a more human scale from the consumer culture industry. They are distributed person to person and are frequently traded or given away for free. Jessie Goldstein observes that:

When you operate at the human scale, other non-commodity logics become possible, fueled by a desire to speak to or communicate with, people that you share a lived-world with—people who are in the same town, who like the same stuff, who are committed to the same political projects, that sort of thing. So instead of speaking to the market, you might choose to speak with/in a community [36].

I already had some kind of relationship with a number of people I shared my zines with this year. However, even the act of giving a zine to a friend transforms an imagined relationship into a tangible one. It has of course also been satisfying to be able to send off a bunch of zines to people whom I do not know but would like to make a connection with. Such is the value of zines as material objects that facilitate relationships between people:

We give gifts because we care for someone and want to make a connection with them. Gift giving makes us vulnerable, because a gift can be rejected or misunderstood, unlike a financial transaction. Gift giving is also fun because we imagine the pleasure of the person receiving them, and in imagining this receiver, we create a connection with that the physical artifact […] makes material. The zine-as-gift, then, is quintessentially an act of community-building [37].

Sustaining my creative practice by connecting to a wider context and community of practice has become an increasingly important concern for me. This year I have distributed my zines to a variety of different people and places through this process I am slowly building this kind of network for myself. However, the success of this aspect of my work in should be not measured in the conventional terms of commodity logic that is oriented toward maximum exposure, maximum coverage and maximum output, but by the desire to build relationships with others that are grounded in an attitude of caring and reciprocality. Roslyn Diprose talks about ‘[g]enerosity [as] not one virtue among others but the primordial condition of personal, interpersonal, and communal existence,’ [38] and the model of embodied community enacted through by the gift economy of zine culture is an example of this.


Eunice Lipton, a woman art historian, said, “What would it mean for us to look at biography not from the standpoint of people’s accomplishments, but from what people desired.” I thought, “Wow—what a different way to conceptualize life and the value of life.” This goes away from the imperialist model where you’re thinking of life in terms of “who of what you have conquered,” toward: “what have you actualized within yourself?” So her question concerned: “What if biography were to tell about desire, not achievement—then how would we tell a woman’s life?” I think that’s really powerful [39].

The above quote from bell hooks seems particularly apt when reflecting on the process of reengaging with and developing my creative practice during the course of this year. As a mother-artist, success for me this year and beyond will not come from trying to achieve the elusive ‘work/life’ balance. Instead it is vitally bound up with deconstructing such cultural imperatives and subsequently fabricating different, more empowering metaphors. During the course of this year, the crazy quilt has emerged as a useful metaphor for the context, intentions, processes and outputs of my creative practice.

This year the emphasis for me is not so much on what I have accomplished in terms of the quantity of physical creative outputs but about what I have realized within myself. That is, a shift in attitude and approach to the complex and contradictory dynamics of my embodied situation. Using an autobiographical approach and assuming my subjectivity to be affective and productive, I am trying to negotiate the particulars of this ground in an affirmative and responsive way. Rather than be weighted down by all of what it takes to get to my worktable/studio, I am bringing this background to the fore of my creative work. Taking a pieced work approach to making work is allowing me to deal with the constant threat of interruption in a somewhat more graceful way. Embracing a disposition of playfulness, opening up to the possibility of making mistakes, even failure is developing my work in new and unexpected ways. Unpacking the process of arrival reminds me that I too am changed through my interaction with material forms. This is particularly exemplified by the way an ephemeral object such as a zine can help me create an embodied community, which hopefully in turn will support me to continue this process of coming to voice.

I realize there is a need for continued openness as it is inevitable that I will have to find different ways to renegotiate this ground over again, especially as this year of study draws to a close. However to return to the image of the crazy quilt, the wonky tracks of embroidered stitching remind me of the possibility for different movements through and ways of being with/in the landscape. And despite the awkwardness of those undifferentiated spaces, where the clarity of the design is lost, or yet to be finished, when viewed from a distance again the overall impression of the crazy is that of wholeness—multifarious and fluxuating but whole none the less.


[1] Cindy Brick, Crazy Quilts: History, Techniques, Embroidery Motifs, Minneapolis MN, Voyageur Press, 2008, p.13

[2] Bee Lavendar & Maia Rossini (eds.), ‘Introduction’, in Bee Lavendar and Maia Rossini (eds.), Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts, Brooklyn New York, Softskull Press, 2004, p.5.

[3] Sally Galman, ‘“Now You See Her, Now You Don’t”: The Integration of Mothering, Spirituality, and Work’ in Heewon Chang & Drick Boyd (eds.), Spirituality in Higher Education: Autoethnographies, California, Left Coast Press, 2011, pp.39-40.

[4] Ibid., p. 33.

[5] Ibid., p. 40

[6] Paul Elliman in ‘Other Spaces’ by Rick Poyner, Eye, 25(7), Summer 1997. Accessed 7 February 2012 at

[7] Rosi Bradotti, Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory, New York Chichester, West Sussex, Columbia University Press, 2011, p.127.

[8] Ibid., p. 18.

[9] ‘bell hooks’ interviewed by Andrea Juno in Andrea Juno & V. Vale (eds.), Angry Women, San Francisco, RE/Search Publications, 1991, p. 80.

[10] Brick, Crazy Quilts, p. 13.

[11] Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Objects, Orientations, Others, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 31-32.

[12] Ingrid Wendt, ‘Noodles and Sauce’, in Lavendar & Rossini (eds.), Mamaphonic, p. 8.

[13] Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, p. 32.

[14] Wendt, ‘Noodles and Sauce’, p. 10.

[15] Alison Piepmeier, Girl Zines: Making media, doing feminism, New York & London, New York University Press, 2009, p. 115.

[16] Brick, Crazy Quilts, p. 13.

[17] Elizabeth Ellsworth, Places of Learning: Media Architecture, Pedagogy, New York, Routledge Falmer, 2005, p. 59.

[18] Ibid., p. 61.

[19] Shelia Levrant de Bretteville, ‘Shelia Levrant de Bretteville’, in Liz McQuiston (ed.), Women in Design, New York, Rizzoli International Publications, 1988, p. 20.

[20] Brick, Crazy Quilts, p. 10.

[21] Elliman, ‘Other Spaces’.

[22] Brick, Crazy Quilts, p. 81.

[23] Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, p. 40.

[24] Piepmeier, Girl Zines, p. 80.

[25] Ibid., p. 90.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, pp. 41-42.

[28] Ibid., p. 41.

[29] Piepmeier, Girl Zines, p. 128.

[30] Ibid., p. 73.

[31] Brick, Crazy Quilts, p. 45.

[32] Ellsworth, Places of Learning, p. 60.

[33] Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects, pp. 15-16.

[34] Red Chidgey, ‘Riot Grrrl Writing’, in Nadine Monem (ed.), Riot Grrrl: Revolution girl style now!, London, Black Dog Publishing, 2007, p. 126.

[35] Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects, p. 19.

[36] Jesse Goldstein in Josh Macphee (ed.), Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today, Oakland, PM Press, 2009, p. 100.

[37] Piepmeier, Girl Zines, pp. 81-82.

[38] Rosalyn Diprose, Corporeal Generosity: On giving with Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas, New York, State University of New York Press, 2002, pp. 4-5.

[39] bell hooks, Angry Women, p. 83.