Crochet Tires & Rubber Quilts: Crafting Family Appalachia to Akron 1920’s – Present

My four grandparents each migrated to Akron, Ohio in the 1920’s from rural, economically depressed regions of Appalachia in hopes of creating a better life by working in the rubber factories. Along with strong work ethics, perseverance, ingenuity, and dreams of a better life; they each possessed handcrafts, cooking and farming skills that allowed them to create and sustain their families. They literally crafted all aspects of their lives by resourcing land and reusing discarded materials to make clothing, furniture, quilts, farming machinery and even their homes. They tended to and butchered livestock, grew vegetables in a garden, and foraged wild berries and yard greens to eat.

Much of my childhood was spent on my grandparent’s farms, where I ran through cornfields, picked berries, baked, learned to crochet, watch my grandmother quilt, make rag-rugs and spent time in my grandfather’s woodshed. I attribute my artistic ability, craftsmanship, love of making, and strong work ethic to this environment I was nurtured in.

I am the lucky recipient of a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Grant to create an installation of mixed-media sculptural objects, which celebrate my family’s heritage and the industrial origins of the rubber companies which offered prosperity and a better life for many families like mine. The resulting body of work will be displayed in a downtown Akron storefront in 2019 or 2020.

Help Support This Project:

The Knight Arts Challenge Grant is a 100% Matching grant, which means I have to match every dollar the Knight Foundation has awarded me before this money is released to me. I was able to meet my first deadline of $7500 by October 31, 2018, through several generous donors and a grant. The second part of my match $7500 must be raised by October 31, 2019. I am hoping to be fully matched by March 2019 so I can focus all of my attention on making the project.