Artist: Grace Rother |
Host: Kendall Hill

When Doves Cry, Linen and cotton quilt


On a sunny, early March afternoon, I sit at my window and wait for a conversation to begin with artist Grace Rother—seamstress, quilt maker, and visual artist using her medium to recall on immediate past experiences and trauma. It's a warm afternoon, which is a surprise given the massive amounts of snow dumped on Chicago just a week prior.

Upon initial, digital confrontation of Grace's work, I was drawn in by the blocks of her patchwork, the intricate details in the seams of her fabrics, and her bold color choices—that would almost never go together except in a moment like this—one built on meditation and discourse.

When Doves Cry can not be viewed without relating its title back to its initial inspiration—When Doves Cry, and the movie Purple Rain by the late singer and pop artist, Prince. The artist has a way of exploring our deepest thoughts through a melody of methods. The repetition of a chorus, drums and chords, high pitch melodies. Scenes of mother and father fighting, the in and out of a needle, driven by the desire to find beauty of monotonous moments, arguments, life.

The process of quilting often means putting things together that may not be congruent, pasting moments onto an invisible canvas and saying, "this works." Grabbing onto the imaginary and turning it physical, pushing out bad memories and replacing their space with something fresh, soft, conjoining these moments at the hip to make something... honest.
"When there's blood in the sky—red and blue = purple... purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain," said the late singer about his title track. To guide yourself through a moment sometimes feels intimidating, like going down a long path with no visible end in sight. But when you allow yourself to keep moving, you often create a dialogue in the process. Unlocking new moments of creativity, and giving more clarity to your own inner peace.

By the end of our conversation, the dazzling, purple sunset was coming to an end, and night was taking hold. I sat at the window and waited for it to fade to black, remembering the purple sky this moment was created for.

—Kendall Hill