Brittany Bowen Burton Quilts
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True Blue

Patchwork Memories

A patchwork quilt made of nine American flags in a square grid. The stripes of each flag feature various hues of brown, red, orange, and beige, representing various diverse skin tones.
When as a third grader Burton drew a Black person with a brown crayon, her teacher told her she could use only black. This experience inspired her, decades later, to create With These Stripes: Black and White America, using 58 colors of fabric to represent diverse skin tones. Photo by Bradley Slade.

“All my quilts have meaning,” says Brittany Bowen Burton (BS ’02). “I can still remember what was happening in my life when I made them. When I see them or snuggle into them, I recall that. Each quilt has a role and place.”

Burton grew up in Salt Lake City amid her mother’s and grandmother’s quilting frames. She sewed her first quilt, a Christmas present for her sister, as a preteen. Instead of a big trip for her high-school graduation, she asked her parents for a sewing machine. In college Burton mourned a difficult breakup by spending a weekend making a quilt.

Burton says quilting has been liberating for her, whether she is creating works for comfort or for high art. She likes to test her own improvisational limits, and her artistry has received acclaim, including an award from the Modern Quilt Guild for her piece Madonna. “[Quilting has] long been marginalized as women’s work,” Burton says. “But today quilts are being recognized as works of art and great skill.”

Burton’s award-winning quilt Madonna features a colorful swirl of various fabrics and colors--pink, purple, brown, green, salmon, orange, and black. Tassel like rectangular strips stream down from the central swirling pattern, and all of it is set against a pale yellow background reminiscent of sunshine.
Burton’s award-winning quilt Madonna (designed, pieced, and hand quilted by Burton, with custom machine quilting by Natalia Bonner) was created improvisationally, one of the ways Burton likes to challenge herself and explore her creativity. Photo by Bradley Slade.