According to current statistics, the craft of quilting is a $4.2 billion dollar industry. At that rate, every person on earth should at least have warm toes. Originally a utilitarian household object guaranteed to have been made by a woman, the humble quilt has slipped off the mattress and into the purview of “serious artists.” I’ve been sewing for almost 40 years and have made quilts for over 25 years, but am still unsure where the line between art and craft is drawn.
What can I say about my work? Since learning how to thread a needle at age 6, I’ve been entranced with the ability of fabric to transform itself when scissors are applied. Handmade clothing is one way to trigger that alchemy. But garments come with a fussy layer of rules and challenges.
Quilts, on the other hand, fit everyone. They cover beds, serve picnics, pad moving boxes, and keep pet hair off the sofa. They are unassuming, yet provide an immense canvas for expression.
I sew because I love the process and ritual of stitching. I quilt because the creative ritual results in a useful object. However it is an object that gives me space to express my ideas: color, whimsy, eye-catching designs, thought-provoking images, and important messages.
In this way, I am connected with strong women (a mother, grandmothers and great-grandmothers who all made quilts). I am bringing their domestic skills into the present day and transforming those skills for an audience far beyond my household.
p.s. I’m often asked what’s the deal with “Stephanie Cake”? It’s a portmanteau of my middle name (which is my maiden name) and my married name. In other words, you take the CA from Capps, and the KE from Dyke and you get CAKE. And everyone loves CAKE!