Teresa Barkley

United We Stand

All photos © Drunell Levinson. All rights reserved.

I chose to use the design of the American flag for this quilt because I feel that its current popularity represents proof of the healing process taking place. Healing means new growth. It is only possible after being saturated by the pain and ugliness of an injury. It is an act of affirmation. We have witnessed a tremendous show of unity in the form of pride in our flag, a pride unprecedented in my lifetime. Like a concrete that binds us, or steel girders that support us, the U.S. flag has been omnipresent in the wake of September 11.

The thirteen stripes in my pieced flag are complemented with narrow bands of flag-printed fabric. These bands suggest the steel supporting the World Trade Center. They flow together at the bottom of the quilt in a design reminiscent of the bottom tier of the Twin Towers. The field of fifty stars on our flag represents the union of fifty states. The woven picture pieced into this field represents the nationwide impact of the destruction that touched three states.

Historically, both quilts and stamps have been used to honor, commemorate, and educate. United We Stand is the thirty-fourth quilt in a series that I began in 1980, of quilts with a postage stamp theme. The process of producing this quilt, particularly the hand appliquéd border, afforded many hours of meditation and prayer. Much of the hand sewing of the "perforated stamp edge" was done on my daily commute from New Jersey into New York – the highlight of which had always been the Twin Towers coming into view. I still find myself looking up, expecting to see them as the train approaches the city.

Teresa Barkley          
Machine pieced, hand appliquéd, hand painted, machine quilted cotton, woven picture of the World Trade Center.

 to gallery guide        to home page