'Foreclosure quilts' show crisis in fabric

California artist borrows a page from history and applies modern technology to create a graphic representation of the effects of foreclosure.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 11, 2012 10:28AM

Courtesy of Kathryn ClarkWhat does foreclosure look like?


Is there a way to show what it does to the fabric of a neighborhood? Artist Kathryn Clark of San Francisco, who has also worked as an urban planner, is portraying the foreclosure crisis graphically in fabric by creating "foreclosure quilts."


"It was such an important topic, but didn’t seem like it was being covered in a visual way," she told The Atlantic Cities. "You would just see a lot of statistics about foreclosures in the news, and you wouldn’t actually see the real effect of it. I had been looking at maps of neighborhoods, seeing just how many foreclosures there were, and trying to figure out a way I could present that in my art."


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Clark took some of her inspiration from the quilts made by generations of African-American women in Gee's Bend, Ala., which often portrayed the hardships in their lives. She sought to apply that aesthetic to the hardship of foreclosure.

To create the quilts, she subscribed to RealtyTrac to get accurate foreclosure information, with actual street addresses. She hand-pieces the fabric, cutting holes at the location of foreclosures, making the fabric as fragile and vulnerable as the neighborhoods. For some quilts, she picks the hardest-hit neighborhoods and for others she picks areas that will make an interesting art piece.

She has made nine quilts so far, showing pieces of Riverside, Calif.; Modesto, Calif. (photo); Detroit; Cape Coral, Fla.; Las Vegas; Cleveland; Albuquerque, N.M.; Atlanta; and Phoenix. 

This quilts are on display this month at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center in New York, and they will be exhibited in July at Warm Springs Gallery in Charlottesville, Va.


What she found as she researched foreclosure neighborhoods surprised her. She told The Atlantic Cities:

"I initially thought foreclosures would all be in the inner cities, and I was really surprised to find out that so many are also occurring in the suburbs. There was this pattern where the early ones were in the inner city, then you start to see them out in the suburbs, and now since it’s become so pervasive you’re seeing it back in the cities again."


Apr 14, 2012 1:10PM

repo it all  see how much money they make then phuk the banks and goverment fire the politicans i can cash my check at local stores for 1 dollar or less  cash work every where stop funding theives and support america

Apr 14, 2012 12:45PM
really? really? makes me sick. majority of the country is so disconnected. help somebody. it makes you feel better
Apr 14, 2012 10:49AM
These quilts are sad, but what a great idea to tell the story of a defragmented neighborhood due to the "Political"  Economics. 
Apr 14, 2012 4:49AM

The interviewer in the video is a stupid, insinsitive jerk.  He is so worried about his job.  And the female is an advocate for the bank.  They both are part of the problem.  RENT THE SAME HOME THAT YOU JUST HAD FORCLOSED?   Most lost their home becuase the rich pukes sent our jobs overseas, not because they bought to much house. SHE was surprised that the suburbs are owned by the banks now through forcloser?  She must live under a rock.


Long live Occupy Wall Street

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