Making a Sankofa

After being inspired at the phone-tree workshop session and with the "Where's Wally/the Sankofa?" concept, I started making a stuffed animal Sankofa that could sit around the phone booths or be carried through the community, modeling for photos.

The basic idea is that I'm modifying this pattern to make a duck so it looks like a Sankofa. This pattern is great because the pieces are simple, and it has a flat bottom so the Sankofa could sit on a counter, on top of a phone booth, inside the phone booth, and so on.

For the fabric, I'm making kind of mini-quilts so the bird is colorful and eye-catching. Quilting also seems like a historically relevant fabric art to use given the long history of African-American women quilters. Because the Sankofa is all about looking back to the past and picking things up to bring with you, I sourced a bunch of colorful clothes from the goodwill near me. Over the last two weeks, I've been breaking those clothes down by ripping out the seams, ironing them flat, and cutting them into strips and squares to be ready for the quilting process. The quilts will be "rag" quilts, which means that the seams are exposed and frayed into tassels, kind of like feathers!
Beautiful used fabrics. So innocent... they have no idea what's coming for them!

Step Two: Rip out the clothing's seams.

My cat Wooster was keen to "help" with this part.

Step Three: Iron seams, wrinkles, and gathers flat so the fabric can be cut straight.

Step Four: The fabric gets cut into three inch wide strips.