• Jo Hilton

    found and salvaged fabric, cotton batting, cotton thread 63" x 51", 2021.

    Artist Statement

    Abolition is a good death. Lately, I have been exploring concepts of death, rebirth, and destruction as a path to freedom. In order to move forward, our current ways of life that are inherently tied to systems of oppression must die. From the ashes of our old ways we will find feathers of hope and wings of liberation. I am reminded of regrowth forests that, after surviving natural or manmade disasters, are reborn with greater diversity and vitality than ever before. The criminal legal system does not bring us justice, it only retraumatizes those of us with the greatest needs. I believe that healing happens in community and that our best hope of a fruitful rebirth is to dedicate ourselves to the nourishment of those who surround us. I chose quilting as my medium because the physicality of stitching together colors, patterns and shapes that otherwise seem incompatible is a beautiful analogy for how we can create community out of people who were once strangers. It speaks to the interconnectedness and interdependence of all people.

    Artist Bio

    Jo Hilton is a rising senior at Bennington college studying Visual Arts and Restorative Justice. She is trained in relief, intaglio, monotype, and screen printmaking. She is motivated to make work that relates to the goals of Restorative Justice/Practice: addressing harm as a tear in the fabric of a community and repairing that harm by centering the needs of all affected parties (including the community itself). Her use of color and patten mixing evokes a cautious optimism and the pursuit of healing. Employing primarily reused and salvaged materials lends a hopefulness to her work. Her passion for textile work and quilting emerged during the pandemic while she was isolated in her childhood bedroom. The process of making useable objects grounds her work in themes of comfort, craft, and domesticity.