Rachel Wallis is creating textile art against mass incarceration.
11

patrons

$170
per month
I am an activist who uses art in my organizing work, and an artist who engages in issues of racial and social justice. I use quilting as a tool to build community and organize for racial and social justice. My current project, Inheritance: Quilting Across Prison Walls, works with incarcerated mothers to design and create quilts for their families, while convening community quilting circles that are turning their stories and designs into a quilt installation about family separation and mass incarceration.

My Work
Quilting has a rich history in diverse communities in the US. For generations quilting has created spaces for women to build community, support each other, and organize. I believe that community quilts allow us to tackle overwhelming subjects, like the toll of homicide on marginalized communities in Chicago, the legacy of violence by the Chicago Police Department, and the impact of incarceration on families across the country. The slow process of stitching occupies our hands and slows our minds. It forces us to travel from the general to the particular. The meditative act of embroidering the name of a single person engenders a kind of radical empathy. Rather than seeing this person as a statistic or a criminal, we take the time to imagine their lives and families, thinking about the people who loved and lost them.

Your Support
I support myself through a patchwork of teaching, consulting, and selling quilts, and my projects are funded by artist residencies, grants, volunteer support, and donated supplies. My community quilting projects wouldn't be possible with a full time job, and I've never been able to pay myself for more than a small fraction of the work needed to coordinate these long term and complex processes.

Your support will help pay for the time needed to teach weekly classes in jail, coordinate a crew of volunteer quilters making individual quilts based on the moms' designs, organize community quilting circles, and oversee the creation of a zine about family separation and mass incarceration. It also makes possible the textile work I do outside of the framework of my primary projects, like organizing the liberation sewing bee (a weekly, drop in sewing night where we sew projects for currently and formerly incarcerated women); consulting with other artists and community organizations about how to integrate art and social change into their work; and using my art to help raise money for groups like the Chicago Community Bond Fund, Black Lives Matter Chicago, and Healing to Action.

Tiers
Running stitch
$1 or more per month
You are the threads that hold this work together
Chain Stitch
$5 or more per month
Help build links between communities, while getting access to exclusive blog content. Hear anecdotes about our classes inside cook county jail, learn about quilting and textile history, and get updates on the movement against mass incarceration. 
Stem Stitch
$10 or more per month
Help these projects branch out in new directions! In addition to exclusive blog content, get a copy of a zine created to accompany one of my community quilting projects. Receive either a copy of the police abolition zine that For the People Artist Collective created for Gone But Not Forgotten, or request a copy of the upcoming zine on mass incarceration and family separation we're creating for the Inheritance Quilt. 
Feather Stitch
$20 or more per month
Help this work take flight! In addition to exclusive blog content, get a custom embroidery piece as a thank you for your support! 
Seed Stitch
$50 or more per month only 3 left
Plant the seeds of justice. In return for one year of support at the seed stitch level, get your own custom quilt! We will consult on the materials and design, and you will get a handmade, heirloom quilt to cherish or give as a gift. 
I am an activist who uses art in my organizing work, and an artist who engages in issues of racial and social justice. I use quilting as a tool to build community and organize for racial and social justice. My current project, Inheritance: Quilting Across Prison Walls, works with incarcerated mothers to design and create quilts for their families, while convening community quilting circles that are turning their stories and designs into a quilt installation about family separation and mass incarceration.

My Work
Quilting has a rich history in diverse communities in the US. For generations quilting has created spaces for women to build community, support each other, and organize. I believe that community quilts allow us to tackle overwhelming subjects, like the toll of homicide on marginalized communities in Chicago, the legacy of violence by the Chicago Police Department, and the impact of incarceration on families across the country. The slow process of stitching occupies our hands and slows our minds. It forces us to travel from the general to the particular. The meditative act of embroidering the name of a single person engenders a kind of radical empathy. Rather than seeing this person as a statistic or a criminal, we take the time to imagine their lives and families, thinking about the people who loved and lost them.

Your Support
I support myself through a patchwork of teaching, consulting, and selling quilts, and my projects are funded by artist residencies, grants, volunteer support, and donated supplies. My community quilting projects wouldn't be possible with a full time job, and I've never been able to pay myself for more than a small fraction of the work needed to coordinate these long term and complex processes.

Your support will help pay for the time needed to teach weekly classes in jail, coordinate a crew of volunteer quilters making individual quilts based on the moms' designs, organize community quilting circles, and oversee the creation of a zine about family separation and mass incarceration. It also makes possible the textile work I do outside of the framework of my primary projects, like organizing the liberation sewing bee (a weekly, drop in sewing night where we sew projects for currently and formerly incarcerated women); consulting with other artists and community organizations about how to integrate art and social change into their work; and using my art to help raise money for groups like the Chicago Community Bond Fund, Black Lives Matter Chicago, and Healing to Action.

Recent posts by Rachel Wallis

Tiers
Running stitch
$1 or more per month
You are the threads that hold this work together
Chain Stitch
$5 or more per month
Help build links between communities, while getting access to exclusive blog content. Hear anecdotes about our classes inside cook county jail, learn about quilting and textile history, and get updates on the movement against mass incarceration. 
Stem Stitch
$10 or more per month
Help these projects branch out in new directions! In addition to exclusive blog content, get a copy of a zine created to accompany one of my community quilting projects. Receive either a copy of the police abolition zine that For the People Artist Collective created for Gone But Not Forgotten, or request a copy of the upcoming zine on mass incarceration and family separation we're creating for the Inheritance Quilt. 
Feather Stitch
$20 or more per month
Help this work take flight! In addition to exclusive blog content, get a custom embroidery piece as a thank you for your support! 
Seed Stitch
$50 or more per month only 3 left
Plant the seeds of justice. In return for one year of support at the seed stitch level, get your own custom quilt! We will consult on the materials and design, and you will get a handmade, heirloom quilt to cherish or give as a gift.