“Signatures are personal and physical inscriptions … verification of someone’s identity”

—Shuruq Harb, 2010

When was the last time you wrote your signature? What does your signature say about you? If in the digital age we don’t use signatures, how will we authentically represent ourselves?

Right now, you are surrounded by “Signature Cloths,” quilts covered with distinctive, hand-written and embroidered autographs of ordinary people. These signatures illustrate shared purposes, new communities, individuality, and—at the most basic level—evidence of the signer’s existence.

Guest Curator Lynn Setterington raises questions about how humans create connection through a simple act – signing one’s name. Setterington studied traditional quilts from the IQSCM collections, then created individual and collaborative artwork, what she calls “signature cloths.” Though unified in name, the signature cloths represent unique stories, each told through the process of signing and stitching. Some are solemn, some are whimsical, but all are earnest representations of meaningful, social, experience all the signers shared.

Lynn Setterington is a textile artist and a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England. Her recent work and community engagement projects were inspired by her investigation into the history and contemporary relevance of signature quilts (a quilt or cloth where the surface pattern is made up primarily of sewn signatures) that began during a fellowship to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010.