October 7, 2013
I type these words and somewhere, they will resonate for another person. Through posts and comments and emails we form connections. How is it you can know a person simply through photos and words on a screen? The same year I shyly started sharing my work online, halfway around the world in Australia, Kathreen Ricketson launched the website, Whip Up. I can't remember exactly when I found it, but when I did, it was clearly something special.
Along with many others, I was shocked and deeply saddened when I learned about the death of Kathreen and her husband Rob. She was someone I knew through the pages of Whip Up. Someone I recognized. She was a mother and maker, juggling the roles, while copping to a sometimes messy house. She was someone I admired. Her generosity and humor. Her staunch belief in making things by hand, moreover sharing skills and fostering community.
When I was asked to join the legacy tour of Brave New Quilts, I stayed up way too late scrolling through the early years of Whip Up. It was nostalgic, in the same way you go through a school yearbook, with projects and blog names that were like old friends. Whip Up was and still is, a compendium. Woven through tutorials and reviews are announcements for openings and posts introducing readers to the work of Lisa Solomon, Abigail Doan, Kate Just, Alison Willoughby and more.
There was no dividing line between craft and art. One can inform and influence the other. In a memorable post, Kathreen wrote, "women throughout history have used craft as a way to have a voice in a male dominated world and I am sure that women will continue to claim their craft to voice their opinion or protest or to just speak their creativity". This carries on through the pages of Brave New Quilts, pairing quilts with important movements in 20th Century art. Some projects are brash, while others are nuanced and beautiful, just the sort of combination you expect.
To follow the legacy tour:
We are left with traces in paper and online. The world is richer for having Kathreen in it. She spoke her creativity. We were lucky to listen.