Last month, I had a chance to work with students at Baruch College to create a remembrance quilt for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). Hillel partnered with the Art Club at Baruch and the InterVarsity Club to create this lunchtime program. Students took time to reflect on the Holocaust and other genocides and then created art that reflected their feelings about those events.
Each student was given a triangle for their background piece to evoke the triangular badges assigned by the Nazis. The result was many thoughtful pieces. Some spoke literally to the horrors of the Shoah like the one on the left below that shows a red hand with a swastika tearing holes in a heart. Others decided to create more abstract pieces like the one on the right below where the colors represent the anger he feels when thinking about these historical events.
After the workshop, I took their work home and stitched it in place. When we were done, there were 23 wonderful pieces. To create a triangular quilt from their art work, we needed two more pieces.
To fill those gaps, I created one triangle with the Hillel and Art Club logos. The program organizers asked me to come up with one more triangle of my own design. Treblinka came to mind with its jagged rocks standing as far as the eye can see. I started to create rocks from black and grey fabrics to represent the millions murdered. The rocks in the background fade to a light gray as the memory of these events unfortunately fades from our collective consciousness. With the right number of blocks, I was then able to arrange them and sew the triangles together.
The next challenge was to decide on the border fabric. After auditioning both yellow and navy, …
I finally decided to use both: a narrow yellow inner border with a wider navy border outside. A little wrestling with the top and backing plus some hand stitching to create a hanging sleeve and…
The piece was done! It will hang at Baruch College where the students can reflect on their work and be reminded of what humanity is capable of.