What happened to quilts? Industrialization rendered their production time inefficient; the heterogenization of the work force left women, the chief producers of the coverings, with little time or interest in the labor-intensive process; and the gradual warming of the atmosphere threatens to make them obsolete. (OK, maybe not that last point.) That’s the short of it, anyway. Still, whereas quilts were once family heirlooms handed down, mended, and expanded from generation to generation, now you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knows the difference between a quilt and, say, a comforter—or why they should pay more for the former.
But is there something still left to be said about crafted objects like these? Designer Emily Fischer certainly thinks so. The head of Haptic Lab in Brooklyn and a practicing architect, Fischer creates handmade objects by pairing contemporary tooling with erstwhile craftwork techniques. The objects put out by Haptic Lab are designed to be touched, handled, and even cradled. Like the Constellation Quilt, the young studio’s latest creation. Last week, Fischer launched a Kickstarter to launch a small production run of the star-studded cover; the campaign was fully funded just 13 hours after it went live.
What’s so special about quilts? She says it’s the “emotional gravity” that’s part of the accumulated, multigenerational labor and care built into their very fabric. For Fischer, they are physical, durable objects for communicating stories from one age to the next. “A lot of the crap that we buy [today] isn’t capable of carrying our stories,” she tells Co. Design. “A piece of Ikea furniture is bought with the landfill in mind.”
Fischer’s designs, on the other hand, are made to last. Each of the Constellation quilts will be made by hand—it takes Fischer a couple of day to finish one, though the first run will be manufactured in a small workshop in India—out of 100% cotton sateen. The top half of the quilt is dyed a cerulean hue that recalls the vaulted ceiling at Grand Central Terminal and then festooned with gold threads signifying stars and constellations.
The interstellar imagery was inspired by Fischer’s interest in cartography and the historical legacy of mapping the cosmos to orient human activity. As more and more people move into urban environments, however, people have lost their connection to the stars, the designer says. Primitive civilizations “recognized patterns in the sky and created pictures to tell stories that were passed down for centuries.”
Of course, a quilt can’t reconcile the ills of the last 100 years of industrialization or urbanization, but it can awaken your lost love of stargazing. And for $185 (through June 10), it’ll give you a “modern heirloom” of your own to pass down your lineage.