Luke Haynes: A Different Perspective on How to Make a Quilt

At its essence, making a quilt is simple: create a quilt sandwich with top fabric, backing fabric, and batting between them and stitch it all together.

man stuff 1 hammer quilt by luke haynes
'[Man Stuff #1] Hammer" by Luke Haynes.
Photo by David Papas

But as we know, there are infinite varieties on the theme of how to make a quilt. One textile artist who caught our attention for his unique approach is Luke Haynes. Working with recycled textiles, Luke challenges perceptions of self-expression and redesigns environs. With cloth as his medium, he creates images that examine function, craft, and art.

Luke talks about his unique approach to quilt making in Quilting Arts in Stitches, vol. 10. Here is an excerpt of our interview.

JD: Much of your work incorporates recycled textiles. What led you to these materials? Is there meaning behind them?

LH: There are several layers of meaning behind them. I want my work to allude to a quilting past, when quilts were used as functional blankets and pieced out of available fabrics. This speaks to the human element in the medium's history. I also like the usage of recycled materials because they give pieces a rich texture that would be hard to replicate, and they give viewers an entry point into the work. If you see a seam on a pair of jeans within the quilt, that can call to mind the jeans you wear every day or the jeans your father used to wear to work. So it lets the viewer understand the materials in a different way–giving an entry point through nostalgia and experience rather than just through concept and aesthetics.

JD: What is your design process? For example, do you start with a sketch?

LH: I start with a concept. I find something I want to explain or understand, and I set parameters for myself around that. Then I start to work. Each project is different, but I will often have a photo shoot and get the images I want to use before creating a design template from which to work. Then I will construct the quilt to those specifications. Lately I have been incorporating quilt patterns into the background to reinforce the quilt-like qualities.

mad house quilt installation by luke haynes photo by howard tu
In his 'Mad House' installation, Luke Haynes 'quilted' an entire house with found textiles. Photo by Howard Tu.

JD: What is your favorite part of the process? What is your least favorite part?

LH: My favorite part of making a quilt has to be seeing if my design is successful as I sew on the last row and can look at the completed top. My least favorite parts are the binding and making the hanging sleeve! I feel so done by that point; I don't want to have to be working on it for the time it takes to do those seemingly small parts.

As you can tell by that last answer, Luke may have an unusual perspective on how to make a quilt, but he has a lot in common with most quilters!

We have more of this interview, plus stitching techniques, design tips, and quilt-making ideas in the interactive eMag Quilting Arts in Stitches, vol. 10 for PC and MAC or for iPad. I hope you'll check it out!

Jane Davila
Editor, Quilting Arts in Stitches
P.S. Do you think you have enough fabric in your stash to 'quilt' an entire house? More than one? Share your thoughts below.

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