What are you going to do with 23,000 baby booties?
We are creating an art installation to draw attention to the problem of infant mortality in America and advocate for policy changes that can save babies’ lives. Booties are going to be sewn on panels like quilt blocks in groups of 100 according to the diagram below. Each panel is a critical piece of the puzzle that is infant mortality in this country. The complete installation will be 38′ x 38′. To get your panel pattern, email firstname.lastname@example.org. When the exhibitions are complete, booties will be donated to charities and agencies that serve infants.
I want to make a panel. Where do I start?
You are awesome! Thank you! The first thing you should do is email email@example.com to get your panel’s pattern and instructions. Start making your booties according to the color scheme on the panel pattern. Attach your booties to cargo netting and label it. Send your panel to Mary Vaneecke at 2000 S. Hermosa, Tucson, Arizona, 85713. Complete instructions for making a panel are here.
Do I have to limit the colors of the baby booties to black/white/gray?
Please do. This is called TheMourningProject.com. Each panel calls for a specific number of black/white/gray booties. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your piece of the installation image. The Project is about uniting to mourn and right a tragic wrong. That said, if you have some beautiful black yarn or fabric with a tiny red thread or dot (for instance), and it ‘reads’ black, feel free to include that in the Project if your panel calls for black booties. Embellish to your heart’s content. You may choose to put a very dark gray in the black areas of your panel. The gray parts of the panels will contain a range of gray values. Just be sure to mail all panels to Mary Vaneecke, 2000 South Hermosa, Tucson, AZ 85713.
Do I have to make a whole panel of booties?
If you do not wish to make a whole panel of booties, get a group of makers together to put a panel together. The process is fun and easy. We will need 225 panels to complete the image. Before you start, email mary@maryvaneecke to get the pattern for your panel. One hundred booties seems like a lot, but you can sew 63 pairs of felt booties in about 6 hours. Click here for that video.
If you can’t find anyone to help put together a panel, make your booties white, and email email@example.com for an address of a panel maker near you. The pattern calls for 15,000 pairs of white booties. This will save postage and can help someone who is in need a few more booties for their panel.
Can I make a panel of booties in memory or honor of someone?
Yes! Make a note on the form and write it in permanent fabric marker on the label on the back of the panel. To make booties in memory or honor of someone, write it on a white ribbon, strip of fabric, interfacing, Tyvek, or other durable paper or fabric. Stitch the ribbon or strip together with your pair of baby booties. This donation checklist has a diagram. Please mail panels to Mary Vaneecke, 2000 South Hermosa, Tucson, AZ 85713 by April 1 to be a part of the exhibition at the March of Dimes March for Babies in Phoenix.
I don’t know how to sew, knit, or crochet. Do I have to hand-make the baby booties?
My vision for TheMourningProject.com is that each of the 23,000 babies lost annually will be remembered by a unique, handmade, heartfelt little ‘elegy.’ If you do not sew, knit, felt, or crochet, consider asking a crafty friend to help. Sewing a simple pair of booties can be done in about a half hour (links to some free patterns here). Your gift does NOT have to be technically perfect or lavish, though you are welcome to make it as fancy as you like. What matters is you care enough to make this little elegy. As an alternative, you could purchase a white pair of infant booties and embellish them yourself with contrasting marker, paint, sequins, lace, etc. And of course, advocacy is a critical part of this project. You don’t have to be creative or crafty to write a letter or contact an elected official, arrange an exhibition, or make another donation to the project.
Can I make a panel or pair of baby booties anonymously?
Yes. Just note that on the donation form. Link here to the form.
Do you know where I can get a nice free pattern?
There are loads of free patterns online. Click here for links to some of my favorites.
Does this project have anything to do with abortion?
No. Infant mortality concerns wanted children who are born alive and die before their first birthday. Whatever side of the abortion issue you are on, you are welcome to support TheMourningProject.com. My hope is that whatever our respective political leanings are, we can all be United Against Infant Mortality.
Does it cost anything to be a part of TheMourningProject.com?
There is no application fee. I am asking each maker to consider contributing $1 for each pair of baby booties made. While I take no salary as founder of the Project, I expect to incur costs related to shipping, storing, and exhibiting the installation. We’ll need at least 15 shipping crates to ship the entire installation.
Can I participate even if I live outside the U.S.?
Of course. The project focuses on the US infant mortality rate, but all are welcome to contribute panels to the project.
What are you doing with the money you collect?
I will donate all the time I spend on the Project. There are significant costs related to the ultimate art installation, storage, postage, appropriate shipping containers, insurance, travel and other costs related to TheMourningProject.com. I am seeking grant funding, and possible sponsorships to cover these costs. Right now, I am requesting that baby bootie makers consider making a donation of $1 for each pair of booties they make. This will allow me to take advantage of exhibition opportunities as soon as they present themselves, and plan ahead as much as possible. Any monies left over at the end of the project will be donated to the March of Dimes.
When do you need these panels?
Don’t wait until the last minute to send your panel(s). Your piece of the pattern is critical! Please mail panels to Mary Vaneecke, 2000 South Hermosa, Tucson, AZ 85713.
Where will this art installation appear?
Bootie panels will be exhibited at events throughout the year. Click here for the most current list. Click here for info on that. Do you have a suggestion for an exhibition venue? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow this website, my blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. to find out where the exhibition will appear.
What will you do with all those baby booties when the Project is over?
After the installations, the booties will be donated to charities serving infants and children. These agencies might include the March of Dimes, local health departments, birth centers and hospitals, crisis pregnancy centers, family-nurse partnerships, etc. It’s possible some small portion of the Project may become part of a museum collection. Do you know of a charity that would be interested in receiving these items? Contact me at email@example.com.
Have another question not answered here? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org