By Elyse Pitkin

Sixteen students creatively demonstrated awareness on varying topics, including school shootings, the addiction crisis, mental health, child custody battles, and violence against women, through quilting during Hiram’s 3-Week. The Quilting for Social Justice course helped students either refine their sewing skills or teach students the basics of sewing. The goal of the course was to create a quilt as their final project that displayed their newly learned skills and represent a topic they were passionate about.

“Students created quilts for protest or awareness and told their personal stories about subjects that were meaningful to them,” said associate professor of performing arts, Betsy Bauman.  “We don’t censor quilts in this class. The artist says what they would like to say.”

“I found this class to be so much fun,” said Hayley Thompson ’23. “Although it was a sigh of relief to be done, it was a different type of sigh of relief than one I would have finishing a paper or lab report. I felt like I could keep working on my quilt, even after completing it.” She furthers by saying, “As an adult, you have to find little aspects of your life that you enjoy outside of work and this class helped demonstrate that.”

Bauman had attempted to teach this course last December but had to send her students home to finish classes via zoom because of the pandemic. However, this year was the first time she was able to complete the course successfully and comments on how impressed she was with her students and their ability to pick up sewing so quickly and earnestly. “The work they are doing, when most have never done any sewing at all, has been remarkable. They have been very successful,” said Bauman.

Most of the material to create the quilts is provided, however, students can purchase fabric they need off campus. Bauman remarks that several of her students who bought fabric were eager to share their fabric with others that needed it. Others who asked for help in the classroom would receive assistance from their classmates without question. “I am so very proud of this group of students,” said Bauman. “I am proud of their passion.”

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