More blocks created by Kitty Sorgen
The bad news: Today we’re having a pop quiz on The 70273 Project. Even if you’re already making blocks, even if you’ve already sent blocks, even if you’re already scheduled to speak to a group – however involved you are with this project, you need to take this test. It’s really important to the success of this project.
The good news: You get to check your own paper.
Q: True or False: This is a project with only a few rules/guidelines.
A: True, and here are the few Very Important guidelines.
~ White – just white, though it can be white-on-white fabric, but nothing else – blocks of fabric cut in one of 3 sizes: 3.5×6.5″ or 6.5 x 9.5″ or 9.5 x 12.5″
~ Two – and only two, no more and no less – red X’s laid down on the white fabric
~ Download, print, complete, and use a safety pin to attach the Provenance Form to the blocks, then mail.
~ Email photos (at least 300 dpi resolution, please) and a short bio or a story about why you’ve become a part of this project.
Q: Why does the base have to be white?
A: The white (and it can be white on white prints, it just can’t have anything else on it) represents the paper – the medical records – of the physically and mentally disabled people. The German Nazi doctors were not required to ever so much as lay eyes on the people, just to read their medical records. This is significant.
Q: Why two red X’s?
A: When two of the three German Nazi doctors placed a red X at the bottom of any medical record, the disabled person was rounded up and murdered, often within a few hours. The two red X’s represent the death sentence. This, too, is significant.
Q: I want to stitch more than two red X’s – maybe lay down one big red X then fill the white block with lots of smaller red X’s. Is that okay? It’d be so much cuter, really.
A: Well, um, no. The white needs to remain white – just white – and each white block needs to bear two red X’s. That’s all.
A: Because when the idea initially came to whisper in my ear, this is the image it brought to show me: 70,273 white blocks with 2 red X’s. The visual impact of 70,273 quilt blocks made of a white base with 2 red X’s is nothing short of powerful – powerful, I tell you – because each block commemorates one of the 70,273 disabled people who were murdered.
Q: How can I be creative with such limitations?
A: Actually, creativity blossoms within boundaries. Get as creative as you want with the two red X’s – that’s wonderful, actually, because no two blocks will be exactly the same, just as no two of these murdered people were exactly the same. And while the two red X’s vary, the white background remains the same – just white – and that’s significant, too, because these people were not seen as human beings, just a piece of paper bearing their name. You might want to click right this way to get some kindling by looking over the shoulder of some very creative folks to see how they’re making their two red X’s.
Q: I’m gonna’ stitch the name of a student or a friend or a family member who has physical or mental disabilities. M’kay?
A: Well, remember: we want to maximize the visual impact of an unadorned white base with 2 red X’s. Stitching names, initials, words, numbers or any other kind of text, to use a theatre phrase, pulls focus. I really don’t want people getting distracted by trying to read what the stitching says. Susan Graham and I did hatch a way to include the names of loved ones and remain true to the initial vision. Susan taught special needs children, and several of them claimed a spot on her heart, and she wanted to honor them somehow, so she cut the white base, laid down the two red X’s, then, using a fabric marker, wrote the student’s name behind the red X so that it’s a permanent part of the block but not visible from the front.
There’s also a place on the Provenance Form to tell me that you made the block in honor or in memory of someone. You can give their name, and if you want me to send them a note alerting them to your block, you can give me their address. Provided you don’t request that they remain anonymous, these names will be mentioned on the quilt blocks that will forever accompany each quilt, and to the extend possible, they will be mentioned in exhibit literature that will accompany the quilts. If anonymity isn’t request, they will also be celebrated on the blog.
Me, I’m availing myself of all those options to celebrate my disabled sister-in-love Nancy.
Q: Look, I’m just gonna’ send you a block and you can cut it down to the size you want. How ’bout that?
A: I’m begging you to cut blocks to one of the three sizes – 3.5×6.5: or 6.5×9.5″ or 9.5×12.5″ – before sending. Imagine one woman coordinating this on project top of an already full life. Blocks come in, and I catalogue them in the database, feature them on the blog, keep the facebook page humming, respond to the numerous emails and comments and tweets that come in throughout the day, find ways to get the word out, and look ahead to other things that will need tending. Then think of one woman doing all that PLUS cutting 70,273 blocks to size. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask of me when you think that you’re just one person sending a few blocks that need cutting, but remember that there are actually going to be 70,273 blocks, and imagine doing everything that has to be done and cutting that many blocks to size.
Q: How ’bout I put one red X on each of my blocks and you can stitch them together?
A: I refer you to the above answer and beg you to think how much time it might take to stitch 70,273 blocks together. Remember, there 70,273 of you and one of me. That’s the kind of math that can break a person’s back;)
Q: Why do you want us to mail you our basic info and email you the photo and bio?
A: It already takes several minutes to enter all the basic information into the computer for each block. Imagine, if you will, me scanning 70,273 photos and retyping 70,273 bios. Then there’s the whole handwriting thing to consider.
Q: Why do I have to use a safety pin? Why can’t I just staple my Provenance Form to my block?
A: I ask for the safety pin for several reasons. For one, a safety pin is much quicker and easier to remove than a staple. (Let’s review: one minute times 70,273 equals a lot of time.) Then there’s the fact that I have to find safety pins to replace each staple.
Q: Why are there only three sizes?
A: One: visual impact. Two: It’s the way The Idea wants it. Three: These sizes will fit together nicely to make quilt tops.
Q: How many quilts will there be?
A: It’s hard to say at this point because we don’t know how many blocks of each size we will have, so we don’t have all the info we need to do the math. But The Engineer (my husband) calculates we’ll wind up with at least 700 quilts.
Q: Are you going to quilt them all yourself?
A: Bahahahahaha, no. Pretty soon, I’m gonna’ be asking folks to raise their hand if their their quilt guild are willing to do the quilting. And know this: it’s never too soon to raise your hand for that. Just sayin’.
Q: What will you do with the quilts?
A: The quilts will be sent around and to the far corners of the world to commemorate the 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people who were murdered and to celebrate the countless numbers of physically and mentally challenged people who live among us today.
Q: There’s a lot going on with this good project. Do you post the same thing everywhere? How can I keep up?
A: My brain now jiggles more than it juggles, so no, I don’t post the same thing everywhere cause I can’t remember what I posted where. To keep up, you might want to like the Facebook page, send me a friend request on Facebook, follow The 70273 Project pinterest board, subscribe to the blog, follow me on twitter and/or look for #The70273Project or #70273.
Q: Why do you always put a link to the introductory post somewhere in each blog post about The 70273 Project? I’m kinda’ tired of reading it, myself.
A: I do it because (a) my son tells me I need to and (b) new people are stopping by all the time, and because they’re kinda’ starting in the middle, I like to let them know what we’re doing here. As for re-reading it, try this: let your cursor hover over the words The 70273 Project when you can tell there’s a link there, and if you see a link with the word “introducing” in it, you’ve already read the post. Better?
Q: What if I have another question or an idea?
A: You just holler.
Thank y’all for being a part of this project, for following the guidelines, and for helping spread the word. And pretty please keep those blocks and stories coming.