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Follow the creation of this piece, Navigating a Broken World, featured at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. for the exhibition, "Stories of Migration" in 2016.

Shea Wilkinson- Dymaxion Map
Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map

I began by plotting out the triangles and hand stitching them. Then I continued by hand-embroidering all of the continents and their features. The brown spots are like little stars and the red spots are knots.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

After embroidering all the land masses, I painstakingly machine quilted all of the oceans using my sewing machine. I rigged a special hanger from the ceiling using a hook and bungy cord. This helped support the massive weight, making it much easier to fluently move the quilt without too much strain.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Here it is flat, all quilting completed.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Now the piece is quilted, but before cutting it out of the surrounding material, I wanted to test that it would actually work out. Therefore I pinned along the lines to see the quilt begin to take shape.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Once cut out, I created further support by sewing together a thick felt object with the same dimensions. Then I hand-stitched the piece to this felt.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

I still wasn't sure ultimately what form I wanted, circular or opened up and spread out. Here I've tested it as a globe.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

If you're interested in purchasing this work, visit Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery at

After a full 2 years hiatus, I’m preparing to create new work. It’s a bit strange for me, because when I stopped making work at that time, I thought, “That’s it, no more, end of an era”. And in fact, it was the end of one era with art quilts, but little could I have expected that a new medium would come into my life and inspire me to start making again. This new medium is directly related to my move to Russia, where I’ve been organizing my life and learning a new language.

When I could begin to understand Russian, I started watching YouTube videos about felting. It’s a fairly popular hobby here and there’s a great wealth of knowledge being shared from masters of the craft. There certainly isn’t as much information being shared for free in the English language, so I consider it essential that I know Russian.

I first made a lot of mittens….A LOT OF MITTENS! Then I moved on to hand puppets which are my current primary occupation. They are so much fun to look at. They keep me active and allow time and space for me to practice my listening skills in Russian (audiobooks are essential to any handcraft, I think!). They keep me from sitting on a chair all day (I felt my work standing up). But I can't say that they awaken the same spark in me as fine art. This spark arises from the intrigue of problem solving and pushing material limitations.

So now I've made the decision to dive into art-making again. I need to rediscover the landscape in a slightly different medium (felt, rather than quilts) and in a different country. There are a lot of logistics involved, including sourcing the materials I need. I've just spent over a week carefully combing through the internet to find wool, silk fibers, silk cloth, silk threads in preparation. I've carefully considered my theme and potential means of expressing this theme, which has a strong impact on my choice of materials. I have to admit, at first it was fun and exciting, but by the end of the week, it was just stressful. But luckily, I’ve now officially gathered all that will be required and now I just need to patiently wait for their arrival. In the meantime I am gathering and sketching ideas.

I think in this period of waiting, it will be beneficial to review previous work and also share more about its process. When I was in the thick of things, creating these quilts, I didn’t take the time to do that because I was always busy either creating or tending to the “business” side of things. So over the next few weeks I want to document the quilted works from behind the scenes. This will also be a way for me to reflect on what lessons, techniques and strategies I can take from that medium and that era as I move onto another medium and era.

So stay tuned as I share some never before seen photos of quilts in the making.

Here I decided to try wet felting a cat face in order to create a hand puppet that is truly damage-proof by little kids. Through my usual method of dry felting is very durable, it is possible to be damaged if in the wrong tiny little hands. The end result was not satisfactory, and I ended up giving it the usual dry-felted face over the original face shown here.

End result:

Over all conclusion: I will probably never try this experiment again. It's just not my style. But I'm glad I tried and now I can lay this thought to rest :)

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