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Adrienne Yorinks An Interview with Adrienne Yorinks, September 2005
Quilt of States
Quilts by Adrienne Yorinks
Written by Adrienne Yorinks and 50 Librarians from Across the Nation
Ages 10 and Up
Statehood is something Americans don't think about much these days. But for 172 years, the process was in the public eye. Maps changed, stars were added to the flag, new people became full citizens of our republic. States weren't added automatically. The state-to-be had to fulfill requirements. Some were eager for statehood. Some were reluctant. All of then, in the end, decided to try, and all that tried were admitted. Once, in the biggest rift in U. S/ history, 11 states changed their minds about being part of the United States of America, and the rest went to war to force them to rejoin.

In Quilt of States, 50 librarians offer close-up looks at their own states and the events that led them to join the Union. Look up your state, a state you plan to visit, or a state that interests you. Or let these quilts take you on a stroll through the history of the United Sates, from Delaware (the first) to Hawaii (the last). Just as Adrienne Yorinks has stitched together scraps of many different fabrics to make the illustrations in this book, so the 50 states, each with its own personality, have joined together to form the most powerful country in the world.

Featuring quilt maps of all 50 states and of the whole country at several points in its development, as well as a state-by-state fast-fact section at the back of the book, Quilt of States is perfect for history buffs, state-fact hounds, quilt lovers, report writers, and browsers of all descriptions.
--National Geographic Books for Children 2005
This is an amazing work of art.

More quilt creations/illustrations:
The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog by Eugene O'Neil
The Alphabet Atlas by Arthur Yorinks

Adrienne Yorinks can be reached at her studio at 973-467-1001 or by

Adrienne YorinksIntroduction: We are here this evening with Adrienne Yorinks who has a new book coming out in October called, Quilt of States. The book pieces together the history of how the United States came together as a country. The illustrations are unique pieces of textile art and are filled with myriad colors and textures. Each state is depicted in a double spread containing the map of the state, text by a librarian describing the events that led up to statehood, and unique fabric motifs describing the state's wildlife, economy, natural wonders, etc. Each fabric collage is pieced, appliquéd, and quilted.

ETC: What was the best part of working on, Quilt of States?

YORINKS: There were many wonderful aspects of working on, Quilt of States, working with my friend and colleague, Jeanette Larson, who found all the librarians, watching with excitement as each state blurb came in, editing each state and learning more about the United States than I ever knew, but the ultimate joy of working on Quilt of States was doing the art work. I loved that I had to do a piece of textile art for each state. Part of the process of creating the artwork was collecting all the fabric that you see photographed in the book and collecting fabric is a lot of fun! I actually had to create 65 original pieces for this book. Because I love to work, that was really exciting for me.

ETC: How did Quilt of States come about?

YORINKS: It was really an evolution of the book I did in 1999 called The Alphabet Atlas. I so loved creating maps for that book that it seemed natural to do a book about the United States. The main difference is that Quilt of States is meant for an older audience.

ETC: Why did you get 50 librarians involved?

YORINKS: There is incredible diversity in this country and I wanted the book to reflect that diversity. History also reflects the person telling the story, and I thought it would make a much more interesting book if every state had their personal advocate telling their unique story. Librarians were an easy choice because I have a deep respect for them, they are very smart, and have access to lots of reference books.

ETC: What was your favorite subject when you were a kid?

YORINKS: Math was my favorite subject. I use math a lot in my illustration work; particularly working with textiles, math is pretty important. I also think math is vital to design and color. The whole sense of balance in a composition is created from an intrinsic knowledge of math. I think you might be shocked when I tell you my least favorite subject in school.

ETC: What would that be?

YORINKS: History!

ETC: How do you explain that since most of your books have some historical or geographical component to them?

YORINKS: I think I have always loved history, just not the way it was taught in school. I took a course in graduate school that I loved that was the history of science. It was fascinating to see how a field of study develops from humble beginnings. I disliked history so much in high school, that I used to work on all my advanced math problems, which I loved, in history class. I think I just like being involved with history my way---- I not only illustrate and write books about history, history is important in all aspects of my artwork. Most of my commission work is historical or commemorative in subject matter.

ETC: What kind of commissions have you done?

YORINKS: I do commissions for private individuals, businesses and religious and charitable organizations which commemorate special events. For example I have created several pieces for 50th anniversaries and for birthdays. I have a 10 foot tall piece hanging in New York City at the City University of New York which celebrates their sesquicentennial. I also was asked to do a commission for the AFL-CIO to celebrate their commitment to workers' and civil rights. That was a very special project and I found it exhilarating to work with so many people from the AFL-CIO when I was gathering information for the artwork. That work hangs in the National headquarters of the AFL-CIO in Washington D.C. and can be purchased in poster form, to benefit the AFL-CIO, on the AFL-CIO web site.

ETC: What are you working on now?

YORINKS: I am working on a couple of historical books as well as an original picture book for the book world but I also design fabric for a fabric company. I am in the process of creating seven new lines for Lyndhurst Studio, my company.

ETC: That sounds pretty exciting. What kind of designs do you do?

YORINKS: Since I am designing for the quilt world, I design a line that has an actual "story" to it. For example, the lines that just came out are called, Fossil Forest and Haiku. Fossil Forest is a line I designed when my Mom told me she wanted to take the whole family to the Galapagos Islands. I have wanted to go to the Galapagos since I was a kid so I found my books on Darwin and evolution and Started to reread them. I got inspired when I saw the pictures on fossils and thought they would make such a neat fabric line. So Fossil Forest is a line of seven different fabrics that work together and describe fossils. Haiku was inspired by vintage Japanese kimonos and has beautiful rich colors. I love designing fabric and am so excited when I see the actual bolts of fabric created from my ideas. If anyone wants to see what I am creating next, you can look on my web site: and click on the link to Lyndhurst Studio.

ETC: Have you mostly worked on Children's books?

YORINKS: Yes, except for a very special book I did called, The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog. It was an essay written by Eugene O'Neill in the 1940's and told from the perspective of his dog who was dying. The basic message the dog imparts is, if you love me, you must get another dog when I die. It is such a poignant essay, since all of us who love dogs feel that. I find it so joyous to live with dogs. Now I have two red poodles named Harry and La Redda. They are mentioned in the acknowledgements of Quilt of States because they keep me company when I work and love what I do.

ETC: Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with our younger readers?

YORINKS: I used to dance when I was younger, mostly modern dance and one teacher I had said something I will never forget. She said, "Be voracious in space", which means eat up space and enjoy It. She also said, "even if you are not sure about what you are doing, do it big". This is true in many areas of life, including dance, where the tendency is to get very small when you are not sure about a set of steps. So for all my young readers, be passionate, eat up space, and even if you are not exactly sure about what you are doing, be brave and do it big!