December 27, 2021

A celebration of Quilt Your Science 2021

Posted by Laura Guertin

Back at the virtual 2020 AGU Fall Meeting, I hosted a Braindate to see if anyone was interested in participating in a quilting project for the upcoming year. I detail in a previous blog post how my collaboration with Betsy Wilkening led to the Quilt Your Science 2021 project!

We invited quilters of any age and skill level to create 1-2 mini quilts (no larger than 24 inches by 24 inches) themed on earth/space science. We publicized this event through our AGU connections, other science networks, and we even got a shout-out in a Smithsonian Magazine article. A Slack channel was created for participants to communicate with each other throughout the year to share ideas and update our progress. Quilters had a deadline of November 15, 2021, to submit one image and a title and description of their quilt.

We created a virtual gallery in ArtSteps, a slideshow on the Quilt Your Science website, and hosted a live event to bring the quilters together for sharing and discussing their quilts. During the 2021 AGU Fall Meeting, four of the quilters were in attendance and posed for a photo!

Four AGU members posting with their science quilts

Four quilters that participated in Quilt Your Science posing with their quilts at the 2021 AGU Fall Meeting. From left to right: Hannah Mark, Laura Guertin, Lauren Haygood, Emma Burkett.

Below is a video compilation of the 23 quilts with their descriptions, generated by the 20 quilters that participated. I recommend viewing the video full screen, and pausing the video between quilt images to read the descriptions.

Gathering of quilt viewers

Quilters and non-quilters gathered to hear about science-themed quilts

Our live discussion was held in Zoom and had a group gathered in one of the Pods in the AGU Poster Hall. The quilters were scientists and non-scientists – in fact, less than half were AGU members. The quilters were from across the United States (California to Maine), and one quilter from Germany particpated in the project. Participants were first-time quilters to experienced quilters, and the youngest quilter was 11 years in age.

As the organizers, Betsy and I gathered some key takeaways from Quilt Your Science:

  • Participants appreciated the “collision” of science and art, especially connected to AGU, and the opportunity to share their work
  • Participants want to create more quilts that are science-themed
  • Participants want to connect with additional quilters at additional regional/national events
  • Not everyone heard about Quilt Your Science (some did not hear anything until they saw the pod event in the AGU program app) and wished they had known so they could participate

We learned so much from bringing together this community around earth/space science-themed quilts, and we were excited to hear that this group as well as others would like to participate in something similar next year. And since we know not everyone quilts, stay tuned for details about Stitch Your Science 2022 – featuring any creation made with a needle/hook, themed on climate. If you are interested in details about Stitch Your Science, please contact us! ([email protected])