About Flag Work by Elise Robison

The American flag before 1912 had few rules.  A star for each state surrounded by a cannon of blue accompanied by 13 red and white stripes alternating was all that was required.  Since few flags were manufactured for purchase and the arrangement of stars was left to the discretion of the flag maker, individual acts of creation had lead to a culture of flag making.  The flag itself was an open format through which ideas where exchanged.  Ship crews favored the greater star pattern, in which the stars where arranged into one large star, because it could be recognized at greater distances than rows of stars.  Regiments of soldiers created iconic representations of their battlefield glory to boost morale.  And in the years surrounding the Civil War, southern sympathizers created secessionist arrangements of stars while their northern counterparts made exclusionary patterns by removing the stars of the southern states.

In 1912, President Taft standardized the flag’s arrangement of stars and the proportions of the stripes in order to ease manufacturing costs.  Concurrently, the promise of good paying factory jobs pulled many Americans off the farm and into the cities where these newly urbanized Americans became accustomed to purchasing manufactured goods.  As more was bought and less was made, the appeal of handy crafts dwindled.

100 years after the standardization of the American flag, the robust economic growth of the past century is now in decline.  As the world resets to find a new normal, the question we need to ask today is...Who do we want to be now?

About Quilt Work by Elise Robison

I began making Quilts as a reaction to the cold Chicago winter.  Coming from rural Appalachian North Carolina, we wintered with nothing but a buck stove in the corner of the living room.  Chopping wood kept our blood moving during the day and after dinner my family sat around the stove drinking hot tea.  It was cozy by the stove until bedtime because my bedroom was unheated.  I slept under a pile of quilts so thick the weight of them made it hard to rollover in the night.  

Upon moving to Chicago, I learned two important lessons; that I knew next to nothing about cold winters of the north and that Chicago should have more quilts.  I like to sew with the fanciest of fabrics. I find the best wool, cotton, linen and silk and use patchwork quilting as a recycling technique to transform spent clothes into collaged fabric.  Environmentalism is a driving value in my work.  Work is salvation and I strive to  work smarter not harder.  Coming of age surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains I learned to seek out the beauty around me.  My artworks are not just environmental in theme, but in practice as well.

About Drawing by Elise Robison

I’ve started taking mental photographs instead of digital ones. Amidst the hustle and bustle of society living all on top of one another, I find time to put down my memories, ironies and visions for the future in drawings. I keep a regular drawing practice because too much time off means you’ll come back rusty.