Work in Progress: Joey Casey

We were so excited to feature our own Joey Casey as our February Work in Progress resident! In addition to being a textile and fashion designer, Joey works hard as an instructor at the TAC Manhattan studio. We are always impressed with his dedication to bringing people together in the studio to have tons of fun, connect and create. So it was no surprise that he spent his residency working on his Quilting Bee project, which will produce gift quilts for donors to the TAC Youth Scholarships Fund. During his residency, Joey hosted a public quilting event where participants of all ages could come in and piece blocks to contribute to the quilts, while connecting with one another and perhaps learning a new skill. I met up with Joey in the studio to check out what the participants produced and learn more about the project.

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Joey set up the studio with all the supplies for quilting, plus drawings from students and small finished quilts.

Tell me a bit about your Quilting Bee project!

The project I’ve been working on for the Work in Progress studio is a quilting project in various sizes and iterations. It’s kind of a jump start to our fundraising for our youth scholarship program. I’ve been making quilts through collaboration with other people, artists, people walking in off the street, other members of the Textile Arts Center community, just coming in and working on it together. We’ve been making different sizes of quilts, and the whole concept is really having a thank-you gift for a monetary donation.

Why did you choose quilting as the medium for this project?

My mom quilts, and I’ve been given a lot of quilts as gifts, and I just think that they’re a nice piece of textile to have in your house. They’re useful, they’re beautiful, they’re not too cumbersome. You can use them for a blanket, you can use them at the park to sit on. They’re multi-purpose. They come in handy.

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These fabrics were dyed at TAC, including leftover fabric donated to the project by TAC Summer Campers!

How did your public quilting session go?

It went really well. It was really exciting. We made different kinds of blocks, so there was kind of a designed block already made that you could reference, and then participants made copies of that to become part of a larger whole piece. And then we had some freestyle people, who were just kind of making what they wanted to make, which I appreciated. We had kids, we had adults, we had people come in off the street. I had a sign out. It was really fun! I want to do it again!

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Quilted and insulated pot-holders will be one of the gifts given to donors. 

How has teaching kids informed your practice as an artist?

I have realized through teaching that I really enjoy the social aspects of making. For me it’s not just sitting down by myself and doing this process and getting lost in it. I really enjoy dialogue with people, both through the work, and through actual conversation while we’re making stuff.

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Blocks for an all-indigo quilt. Donors will be able to select the style of quilt that they will receive.

Can you tell me about a memorable teaching experience at TAC?

I’ve had so many memorable experiences teaching at TAC! I actually just received a really sweet email last night from somebody who came to the quilting event. It was a mom and her two children and she wrote to me that they had such a great time and they’re going to continue quilting. They’re moving apartments and when they move into their new place they’re going to have a special place for quilting and then they’re going start sewing together. They had such a great time and they wanted to know if we’re ever going to do it again. It was such a nice surprise.

If you are interested in contributing to the Quilting Bee or donating to the TAC Scholarship fund, sign up for our newsletter! You will receive informations about future Quilting Bee events, and an update when we launch our fundraising page for the Youth Scholarship Fund. We are passionate about bringing textile arts to kids (and adults) of all backgrounds, and we truly appreciate your support!

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