Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Radka Donnell

Demeter's Return 74" x 101" (1986) by Radka Donnell, collection of the New England Quilt Museum

"Even though there are now innumerable quilt conferences, workshops, exhibitions, all kinds of sharing aloud about quiltmaking, its interface with silence is still the most sustaining, assuring, and common reality of quiltwork." A Gentle Takeoff, by Radka Donnell

"Quilts pose the question of how one behaves in the making and viewing of art. Silence becomes relevant. Silence is the space for appreciation. " Birth of Tenderness by Radka Donnell, collection of San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

"Working on a quilt I am wrapped in silence, wrapped in thought. Anyone contemplating quilts and quiltmaking also has to enter this space of being wrapped." Earth, Water, Air and Fire 1978 by Radka Donnell, exhibited in Quilt National 79

All text in the post is by Radka Donnell, author of Quilts as Women's Art: A Quilt Poetics, a book I've read at least twice. All images are from the internet. Here, here and here.


  1. This so reminds me of the wrapping that Jude Hill does...wraps herself for warmth/comfort...or bundles her pieces with strips of cloth to carry them with her. Does the person extend the cloth or the cloth the person?

  2. such an interesting post. thanks for all the links.

  3. Silence is almost impossible for me. My brain is always whirling. it seems to have gotten worse with age, despite meditation, despite a great deal of alone time. The rooms I live in are full of voices, thoughts, distractions, demands. Sometimes, when I go visiting, I can find, even seek out, that other sort of alone time in which creating things takes over, and thinking, other than about what's in front of me or at my fingertips, stops.

  4. Silence, yes.
    Lovely work.
    Thanks for sharing, Judy.

  5. great post, loving the links!

  6. I knit as well as quilt. Both have the ability to bring calm and quiet -- amazingly, even if practiced with a group.

    Alas it appears Ms. Donnell's book is out of print -- though you can get it through -- used -- for between $60 and $90 CAD...

  7. I thought I saw her book on for 8.95 used. Try there?

  8. I must look for that book... I love the quotes, especially the once about being wrapped in silence, in thought.
    I love the silence, the contemplative time I have when I quilt....mind you I may be outwardly silent, but my mind is still chatting away.

    Jacky xox

  9. Anonymous2:01 pm

    oh wow.

    thank you

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I have not been successful with meditation practices, but have some hope that hand sewing can do the same for me.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx