About this project
Imaginative and timeless, the Constellation Quilt project illuminates our connection to the still mysterious universe. It is a project meant to spark our curiosity for the cosmos in a tactile, easily understood way using traditional craft techniques and astronomical data.
A Constellation Quilt can be used as a learning tool, a functional art object and modern heirloom. Like our other quilt projects at Haptic Lab, a Constellation Quilt is meant to be passed on from generation to generation.
Each handmade quilt measures 60” square and is made of 100% cotton sateen, dyed a vivid turquoise color. The quilt backing and batting is made of natural cotton. The embroidered gold stars depict the October night sky around the 40th parallel in the Northern Hemisphere and feature constellations like the Big and Little Dipper, Gemini, Orion, Leo, and Taurus; French knots are used to render the Milky Way as a tactile field that crosses the quilt design in a sweeping diagonal.
A letterpressed star chart will accompany each quilt to help you locate the constellations, printed by Swayspace in Brooklyn. The finished quilts will be hand-washable and are made in collaboration with our small workshop in India. Only 50 Constellation Quilts will be made in our initial production run. The full retail value of each quilt is estimated at $280.
About Haptic Lab
Haptic Lab is an interdisciplinary design studio, founded on the floor of a Brooklyn apartment by architect Emily Fischer in 2009. Specializing in tactile and sensory design, our custom handmade objects and spaces are designed to playfully explore the sense of touch and feel. The Soft Maps project began in early 2002 as an academic experiment in tactile wayfinding; the quilts were inspired by Emily's mother, Peggy, who had begun losing her eyesight from complications of glaucoma.
hap • tic: referring to the sense of touch
Our quilts and kites are made in small quantities in accordance with Slow Design principles; we seek to change the world of producing goods to bring about transparency, simplicity, sustainability and consciousness. We sell our products to people - not consumers.
Haptic designs counter the rapid digitization of our lives by privileging the real, physical world our bodies occupy. Like a cane that safely guides someone down the sidewalk, our projects serve as tools for sensation. We make intricate quilts, kites, furniture, and environments that combine new technologies with traditional craft techniques -- infusing a sense of play and timelessness into everything we make.
Please visit www.hapticlab.com for more information.
Why we need your help
We've been hosting our own "Mini-Kickstarter Campaigns" through our Haptic Lab website for years. In fact, almost all of our projects in the City Quilt Collection began as pre-ordered designs. The early support and enthusiasm of the Haptic Lab community has allowed us to add new quilt designs while helping clear the massive financial hurdle of pre-production costs.
And now we hope to support our new Constellation Quilt project using the Kickstarter platform itself. Why? Rather than simply pre-selling selected quantities of quilts, Kickstarter allows us to build a community around an idea. Simply put, we want to share our love of the stars with everyone.
$185 will buy you your very own handmade Constellation Quilt. And we've created a fantastic collection of other rewards that explore our relationship to the stars, including a DIY quilt project.
Flex your love of the stars with a unique set of glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos. Each design represents one of our favorite constellations: Pegasus, Leo, Orion, Cygnus, the Big Dipper, and Cassiopeia. Brooklyn graphic artist Zeynab Izadyar is offering a 36" star poster representing the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Made in our Brooklyn studio, DIY map quilting kits allow folks to stitch their own projects independently. We're proud to launch a special DIY Constellation Quilt kit exclusively for our Kickstarter project. Make your own 36" Constellation Quilt using our template guide and sewing instructions; even novice quilters will enjoy this project. Purchase your quilt fabric, batting and thread separately; a materials list is included with the project instructions. You'll be able to select from designs of either the Northern or Southern hemisphere once the campaign has ended.
"Second star from the right and straight on till morning!" Set sail this spring and soar on the warming winds with one of our new Sailing Ship Kites. We will be releasing just 20 kites via Kickstarter, with a custom star print designed and hand-painted by visiting London textile artist Lizzie Towndrow. Baltic birch kite spools are made in Long Island City by our friends at Surname Cycling. Kite assembly and flying instructions are illustrated by Alayna Raslie.
Own the quilt project that started it all: the original Constellation Quilt. Made in the Haptic Lab studio in January 2013, the project measures 60" and is made of silk shantung. Signed and dated by the artists.
Commission a one-of-a-kind custom quilt for any place on earth (or beyond): the small town you grew up in, the college campus where you met your mate, or a topographic map of a favorite mountain climb. These functional art pieces are crafted entirely by hand in our Brooklyn studio and make unforgettable wedding and anniversary gifts; a queen-sized project measures 86" x 92" and takes around 3 months to complete. We work closely with you to select your project layout, color and material palette; we'll also start a secret online web album so you can follow progress while we're constructing your quilt.
Team Haptic Lab
- Emily Fischer - company founder and architect
- Zeynab Izadyar - studio manager and graphic artist
- Alayna Raslie - studio assistant and illustrator
- Natalie Stopka - quilt maker and book artist
- Charlene Choi - technical writer and novelist
- Lizzie Towndrow and Rachel Ciavarella - 2013 summer interns
Special thanks to our friend Nathan Caswell at Pubic Record for directing our project video. http://thepublicrecord.tv
Risks and challenges
Production for our handmade Constellation Quilt project will take three months or less. We've been producing our Soft Maps for over four years and have much experience in their thoughtful design and handmade manufacture. We're confident that our first 50 Constellation Quilts will be delivered by August 2013.
Why just 50 quilts? All of our handmade quilts are made in limited quantities, slowly and sustainably. We will add more Constellation Quilt rewards with delivery dates extending beyond August 2013 if the first 50 are pledged for, but quantities will never extend beyond our regular and responsible production capacity.
Each quilt is a unique handmade object, made from quality materials by people who are treated fairly for their labor. Idiosyncratic design elements are not flaws, but aspects that make your quilt project unique. We carefully review every single quilt that leaves the studio to ensure it meets our own quality standards. Though it may happen that Perseus might be holding on to Andromeda's foot, or Leo might have an extra star in his mane.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Not yet, but perhaps someday. You can pledge for a custom quilt project ($3600) and we'll make a queen-sized star quilt just for you, to your own specifications.
We sew all custom quilts in the Brooklyn studio, and we also work with a small workshop outside of Delhi, India to produce larger runs. Our workshop was referred to us by Suparna Handa (director of the woman-owned Sarita Handa) and her colleague Sanjay Singhal. Our partnership has lasted for a few years and our quilt artists are compensated fairly for their labor. Quilters work standard shifts in a 48-hour work week, are of legal working age (18), get regular tea breaks, and live at home with their families. Workers are allowed to join and participate in trade and labor unions. The workshop is a member of SEDEX and receives regular outside audits to ensure safety and ethical standards are maintained.
Yes. And we're working hard to make our trade partnerships more fair, more transparent and more sustainable. In a nutshell, Haptic Lab isn't a large catalog retailer with huge retail markups. (We've tried to work with several of these companies, and frankly they'd stab their own mothers to make a buck.) Haptic Lab is a modest enterprise that privileges people over products. As of 2012, our quilters in India have starting wages at roughly 10% above the hourly minimum wage requirement in Uttar Pradesh.
http://beta.fairtradecalculator.com/ is an excellent resource for asking questions of manufacturers and retailers.
The kite in the project video is a tetrahedral kite inspired by the designs of Alexander Graham Bell. We don't sell them, but here are our plans to make your own: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bell-Tetrahedral-Kite/
In accordance with Kickstarter rules, we will only allow one item per pledge. However, the Sailing Ship Kites and DIY Kits will be available for purchase from hapticlab.com once our Kickstarter campaign has ended.
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