Live It, Wear It, Quilt It : Dre McLeod

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       Photo: Dre McLeod's Instagram

      A small town West Virginia girl, who found her place in some of the biggest cities including Los Angeles, California and Columbus, Ohio - Dre McLeod has called these places home in the last seven years. On a journey to relieve her parents’ worries about financial struggles and the foundation of her future, she found her way to Savannah College of Art and Design, where she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Always having a love for art, she developed a passion for quilting through a long lineage of quilters - her grandmother and great grandmother. While quilting was a popular pastime in Apalache, Dre began to find comfort in quilting, relieving herself of the stresses of senior year and end of the year projects.

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Photo: Dre McLeod's Instagram

         Later relocating to the city of dreams, she found work as an assistant to an affluent interior designer. The store housing the most luxurious upholsteries and fabrics, she sought out the opportunity to collect the scraps for her own personal use. Initially utilizing the very opulent fabrics to create weird pixelated creatures, like her rendition of a stag beetle that contained a exuberant amount of gold - gold being her favorite color.

        Compelled to move to Columbus after returning back to West Virginia by a close friend, she finally decided to make Ohio's capital her next home. Not yet doing patchwork, her art focused on quilts and pillows and she quickly found that the Columbus community was very receptive of her craft. “The people here are they’re really supportive of handmade and local so it just felt right”, says Dre. While only residing in Columbus for 2 years, she has found comfort in her newfound home outside of the big city feel she knew from her travels to the city as child.

 

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Photo: Dre McLeod's Instagram

       Accompanying her to Columbus was a quilting style that she had developed in West Virginia. The style consisting of layering fabric used for wall hangings that would later evolve into patches. The patchwork, while still up her creative alley took a lot experimentation to master. Never quite seeing herself working with clothes or patchwork, she attributes it to her artistic roots. “Art is about expression and not everybody can create art, but everybody can express themselves with how they dress”, says Dre. Through her work she realized she could help others express themselves through her own personal expressions. She calls it a therapy of sorts, creating symbols to help her work through her own neurocies.

        After reanalyzing her audience at markets, she further delved into patchwork to bring them a more affordable product. With the suggestion to add her patches to shirts from a friend, she seen an instant attraction for her consumers. Following her success with the shirts, she decided to further her applique technique which allowed her to create art for a living. Cranking out eleven complex patches in just four days when she has back to back shows in different cities, she has an breathtaking dedication to her art. Being very intentional with her fabric and color selections, every patch is distinct. Only creating duplicates of patches upon request, she finds more enjoyment divergence.

       The Eye of Horus, a symbol of protection and one of her most popular patches, allows those who wear it to feel protection wherever life may take them. “We assign power to symbols and always carry them with us”, she says. Her project, “Soldiers of Light”, focused on symbols the were counter authoritarian and addressed that those who wear uniforms, like police officers, don’t always speak for and protect everyone. “We have to protect each other, we have to take care of each other because everyone else isn’t always going to do it, says Dre. Wanting everyone who purchases her patchwork to walk in power and feel some responsibility for their fellow man and woman, to just take care of each other.

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Photo: Dre McLeod's Instagram

     Usually sporting a patch that symbolizes fearlessness, she finds it to be the patch she needs the most - fearing everything in the world. Dre hopes that you are instilling yourself with the power of these symbols when wearing them, all the while helping fight the neurocies and vices of the world.

 

For more on Dre McLeod and her amazing patches check out these handles:

Dre McLeod’s Instagram

Too Legit To Quilt

 

 

 

Mikeisha VaughnComment