Luke Haynes

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

It’s great when you see someone who completely opens your eyes to a new way of thinking about a craft. It’s happened to me a couple of times when a paradigm shift is brought on by Stitchalicious’ stumpwork, or Alicia Ross’ cross stitch. And it’s happened again with Seattle-based Luke Haynes and his magnificent quilts.

All you can do is look at the body of work he’s created and be amazed. They make me itch to try quilting.

I got in contact with Luke and he told me about a new series he will be exhibiting soon :

My most recent works have been investigating nostalgia and function. I work with quilts because they embody these subconsciously while lending a unique materiality to the process and resultant product. I can work with disparate pieces of fabric and create a cohesive final product that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“In this [new] series I am working with donated clothes as my base material. I am interested in taking a material with its own history and re-contextualizing it into something entirely new. This process of  accumulation and layering offers a transformation of the traditional method of quilting, but also resonates with the ideas banding about in contemporary discourse on resources. The tag lines of  “downcycling“and “upcycling” apply implicitly to this work, as clothes on their way to the landfill evolve into an environment, for people to reexamine the issues of comfort and waste, nostalgia and function, and art and craft.

“I am interested in the choices we make to express ourselves to our world. The most apparent form of this is our clothes. We create an environment around ourselves to inform others how we desire to be perceived. By quilting with reclaimed clothes I am initiating a dialogue between the immediate environments we create for ourselves, and the environments we inhabit. These full scale quilts will be comprised of reclaimed clothing with new manufactured cloth overlaid.  They will depict full scale figures within a field composed of used garments. The figures will be in motion around the space in various speeds of movement to illustrate the human form as well as evoke feelings of movement within the context of the exhibition.

“This human scale creates a dialogue with the viewer. As they are surrounded by the work they are responding to another environment that was chosen by the original user of the clothes, if we define clothes as the bounds of a self created “immediate” environment.   I take these environments and create a larger space for people to exist with in. As my work fills the walls the clothes create a context for the individuals to respond to my work. The clothes then wrap the gallery and clothe the space rather than the individual clothing the self and entering the space. Each quilt exists as an individual piece, but is also can be seen as a part of the landscape of the whole show. I am using three scales here, the scale of the clothes, the scale of the quilt and the scale of the show. All three scales are based on the human form, and its inhabiting a space.”

Jimmy McBride’s space quilts are equally amazing, however the breadth of subject matter and skill of execution sets Luke’s work apart from all else.

The work truly excites me because it pushes quilting forward with good humour, terrific style and technical excellence. Amazing.

Luke even has a short video on his home page of him making a tiny quilt and it’s brilliant.


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.