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Needles, Bobbins, 'Dignity' & More

As you contemplate where summer travels will take you this year, you never know where you may find sewing and quilting public art sculptures. Here are a few examples (found in the United States) if you are on the lookout for outdoor artwork:


Artist / Designer: Dave Stevens (October 4, 2002)

West 8th Street & Broadway

Kansas City, Missouri

Located in Garment District Place, this sculpture depicts a tall stainless steel threaded needle stitching into a large red button. The button is red with four holes and is placed at an angle sloping downward toward the north side of the sculpture. The button is bolted to two black angled metal forms. The needle enters the south button hole at 60 degree angle to the ground. Only the lower 2.5 ft. of the needle are hidden by the button and black supports. The metal white thread is looped through the eye of the needle. A bronze dedicatory plaque is attached to the north side of the concrete base. The needle symbolizes the buildings nearby which were the heart of Kansas City’s garment district and once made over 25% of the clothing in the United States.


Artist: Vaughn Randall

University of Alabama at Birmingham

The West Campus/Alys Stephens Center trail features Rosette Bobbin by Vaughn Randall, a large cast-iron sculpture installed in 2006. Visit the UAB Reporter's custom Google Map to see more. UAB’s campus is home to more than 35 statues or sculptures, housed behind residence halls, in green spaces, by libraries and in the Mini Park, among other places. Many are works by well-known artists, like Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, creator of Birmingham’s famous Vulcan statue, and Frank Stella, Brad Morton and Be Gardiner. This spring, walk one of three two-mile trails to glimpse some of the beautiful outdoor public art on UAB’s campus. Each trail takes about 30 minutes to walk — perfect for a cool morning before work, during the lunch hour with co-workers or after hours while waiting for traffic to die down.


Designed by Sculptor Dale Lamphere

Located on a bluff between exits 263 & 265

on Interstate 90 near Chamberlain, South Dakota

Representing the rich Native American culture of South Dakota, the 50-foot Native woman gracefully wears a dress patterned after a two-hide Native dress of the 1850s. She holds outstretched a quilt featuring 128 stainless steel blue diamond shapes designed to flutter in the wind. During the day, her star quilt – a representation of respect, honor and admiration in Native American culture – glitters in the sun with color-changing pieces that move with the wind. At night, LED lights cause the diamond shapes to glow in the night sky, casting a peaceful presence easily visible from the Interstate. The statue was a $1 million gift from Norm and Eunabel McKie of Rapid City to all people of South Dakota. The couple announced the gift in 2014 to celebrate South Dakota’s 125th anniversary of statehood


Artist: Judith Weller

555 Seventh Avenue (or Fashion Avenue)

between 39th and 40th Streets (in midtown Manhattan)

New York, New York

N 40° 45.254 W 073° 59.284

This permanent sculpture is a realistic rendering of a garment worker, wearing a yarmulke and hunched over a hand-operated sewing machine. The figure is modeled after the artist’s father, who was a machine operator in New York’s garment industry. “When I was a little girl, I recall seeing him at work,” Weller explained. “I utilized what I know of him as well as my memory in creating the sculpture.” The sculpture was created to commemorate the Jewish garment workers, the backbone of Jewish life in New York at the turn of the century.


Hancock County Ohio: Alvada, Arcadia, Arlington, Bluffton, Findlay, Fostoria, McComb, Mt. Blanchard, Mt. Cory, Rawson, Van Buren and Vanlue

Download the Barn Quilt Trail & Map

Take a step back to Hancock County’s and Northwest Ohio agricultural roots with a scenic Barn Quilt tour. All of the county’s 17 townships have a barn quilt on display, with a minimum of 86 quilt squares scattered throughout Hancock County. A statewide movement in barn quilts sparked Barbara Gabriel of Arcadia to create one for her own property. After donating another one for the Hancock County Fairgrounds, Barbara soon found herself working with the Arts Partnership and county’s Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. Interest kept growing from there and Barbara soon found herself very busy producing barn quilts for many different people across Hancock County. Read about the first quilt trail and view the complete Map of Quilt Trails across the contiguous United States.


Is there something special to see in your community or state, where others would enjoy visiting? Let me know and I'll add it here.

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