Diversity group embarks on quilting project

By Kendall Smith

Second year English doctoral student Jenna Goldsmith is shown how to knit a square by Catherine Brereton, a leader of The Diversity Project, to create a large textile that represents the diversity of Lexington Thursday night in the Gaines Center for the Humanities. The textile will be used to represent members of the LBGT community. Photo by Scott Hannigan | Staff

The first “knit-in” for the Diversity Project gathered members Thursday evening to start the creation of a large blanket knitted by participants in commemoration of the LGBT community.

Catherine Brereton, an English and gender and women’s studies junior, is overseeing the blanket, which is being created in collaboration with the Gaines Center for the Humanities.

“LGBT identity is very important to me,” Brereton said.

Brereton said the purpose of the blanket goes beyond simply being a piece of artwork to look at and admire.

“When the blanket is made, it will be displayed downtown and auctioned off to Pride for a one-offer scholarship to a LGBT student,” Brereton said.

The idea for the blanket began recently, and it didn’t take long for the project to garner attention.

“It started about a month ago and snowballed very, very quickly,” Brereton said. “WUKY has run a feature on it, WRFL has already covered it and the College of Arts and Sciences has also done a podcast.”

The scope of the project, however, means it is going to require a lot of work and Brereton is hopeful that more people will continue to participate as the project draws more and more interest.

“It’s going to need 144 squares,” she said. “The biggest challenge is getting people involved. Once the blanket is completed, it’s about raising money.”

The content of the blanket will consist of various depictions that represent the LGBT community, from the standard rainbow to more personal and emotional aspects.

“People are dedicating parts of the blanket to friends and family they’ve lost,” she said. “Some people are doing different designs — whatever you can think of that represents LGBT identity to put into knit form.”

Jenna Goldsmith, a second year doctoral English student, took the opportunity to get involved when she heard of the project.

“I’m new to Lexington,” Goldsmith said. “It sounded like a good opportunity to get involved in the LGBT community here. I want to participate in any way I can.”

Goldsmith has her own idea for what she wants to include on the blanket, and like so many others, it is something very personal to her.

“I was envisioning a square I could dedicate to my Great Uncle Bruce, who killed himself in the 1960s,” Goldsmith said. “He had a relationship of some years with his partner that ended and this is something I thought I could do to honor him.”

Participating in this Diversity Project is something Goldsmith was interested in as soon as she heard about it, and she’s eager to help out.

“I want to help Catherine and see her work get published as a piece of art,” she said. “I want to be a part of this as much as I can.”

The Diversity Project will have another meeting to continue working on the blanket on Oct. 19 at the Six Friends Café on Kentucky Avenue. Anyone is welcome to participate and more information can be found at facebook.com/ukdiversityproject.

“There’s going to be a lot of different elements to it,” Brereton said. “Every square is a story.”