North Star Quilt, by Artist Jesse Krimes

The North Star Quilt is one of twenty-two quilts in the Voices Quilt Series, which is focused on rendering visible people and perspectives hidden by the criminal justice system. The series aims to reframe public narratives that perpetuate mass incarceration by leveraging the power and authentic voices of impacted communities. The imagery was sourced from workshops conducted with people incarcerated at SCI Graterford, a maximum security Pennsylvania prison; returning citizens in a Philadelphia halfway house; and mentors, formerly incarcerated people, justice system actors and community members from Lancaster County. Participants explored conceptions of justice, safety, freedom, equality, community and time, and Krimes re-collaged their imagery, added additional design elements and art historical references, and transferred the resulting compositions onto prison bed sheets. He then worked with Lancaster County’s Amish quilters to identify quilting motifs grounded in the region’s traditions, many of which are believed to be associated with signs and warnings on the underground railroad.


Krimes North Star Voices Project 1225Px
North Star, 2019, hand-sewn fabric, image transfer, fabric paint, 80” x 102”