Mourning Gown For Remembrance Day

“Three species are lost to eternity every hour. November 30th is a chance to learn and tell their stories, and to renew commitments to those remaining. Participate in Remembrance Day for Lost Species by holding – or joining – any kind of memorial to lost species or places. This could take the form of an art project, a procession, lighting a candle, planting a tree, or any kind of action you like.”

Thus begins the call for Remembrance Day for Lost Species 2016.  Remembrance Day has been held on November 30th every year since 2011. It is the creation of a wonderful group of people in the UK, but reaches out internationally to ask all of us to learn about, remember, and mourn the increasing number of species facing extinction.

I first learned about Remembrance Day from Persephone Pearl of The Feral Theater and ONCA . My first contribution was my quilt panel for Martha the Passenger Pigeon in 2014. This year their focus was on the 80th anniversary of the Thylacine, and the recent extinction of the Bramble Cay Melomys. Since I had already finished my Thylacine panel and had moved on to the Mourning Gown it only seemed right to feature the Bramble Cay Melomys in a position of prominence. Here then is a recent photo of the front of the dress, as well as links to info on Remembrance Day, The Feral Theater, Onca etc. It’s a wonderful project, and there is still some time till the end of November. Think about ways to contribute, or just remember to Remember.Bramble Cay meleomys-1

Remembrance Day for Lost Species:


The Feral Theatre:

Extinction Symbol:



A Little More on the Mourning Gown

is this penance, she wonders

is this penance, she wonders


I started Sew The SEEDS a project making quilt panels about endangered species with kids, back in 2013. It was an incredibly wonderful and fulfilling experience. At the same time I began making panels of my own for extinct species with the ultimate plan of making an extinction quilt with eight panels. Somewhere along the line I started feeling the burden of the slowness of my process as compared to the speed with which we are loosing species daily. As someone who enjoys making, I also began feeling that I was loosing the ‘magic’ that I needed to sustain myself and the work. Into this equation crept Agnes Richter.

Agnes Richter was a German seamstress living in an insane asylum during the 1890′s. She covered her uniform jacket (it is often erroneously referred to as a straightjacket) in thoughts, pictures, and often undecipherable ramblings. Her jacket, along with the works of other patients, was collected by Hans Prinzhorn, who later published ‘Artistry of the Mentally Ill”. Agnes’ Jacket is part of the Prinzhorn collection at the University Hospital in Heidelberg. It has a special place for stitchers, and as a piece of outsider art. For me it has always had a kind of magic, exactly the kind of magic I was missing. Here then was a way of back to the magic. Here was a quicker way to record the passings. A name is something. Sometimes something very important. A lament circles the neck, followed by the five previous major extinction events; and then the sixth, the Anthropocene. 666666 etc. The rest to be filled with names. As things progressed, brief stories and thoughts on the process found their way in, and the extinction symbol.

Is this penance, she wonders.

Mourning Gown

This is a project that I’ve started working on. I expect it to be ongoing and to take me a while. I wish I didn’t feel the need to do this. But here it is, a mourning gown, to be filled with the names of recently extinct species, embroidered by hand as many as I am able.

SES International Playwriting Prize

Earlier this month I visited the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble for a staged reading of the wining plays in the Saving Endangered Species Int’l Playwriting Competition. The presentation was a benefit for the Jane Goodall Institute, and we were also treated to a short talk and Q&A session with Bill Wallauer the Institutes “Chimp Champion”.  After seeing the plays I met Nikki Harmon the executive director, and we made plans for Sew The SEEDS quilt panels to be displayed at the presentation of next years winners. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted on next years competition.

Here is the link to learn more about this amazing project:   

Making A World Of Difference One Quilt At A Time

Sew The SEEDS is incredibly proud to have been featured in Ruth McHaney Danner’s wonderful new book “Making A World Of Difference One Quilt At A Time, Inspiring Stories about Quilters & How They Have Touched Lives”. We are featured in the chapter  Even Animals Need Quilts. Thank you Ruth!

For all you quilters out there here is a link to purchase the book:

ex.tinc.tion wit.ness

We are incredibly proud to be included in the latest posting on the beautiful ex.tinc.tion wit.ness website. ex.tinc.tion wit.ness is the brainchild, and hearts-work of the amazing Megan Hollingsworth. Megan is a mother, poet, dancer, and passionate environmental activist. ex.tinc.tion wit.ness serves as a collection point for art, poetry, short films and personal expression and recognition of the sorrow and pain we feel at the loss of so much of the natural world. In Megan’s words “staying in touch with that pain is the ticket to actually accomplishing the changes required to make living a lot less painful. There will always be pain. The current level of pain is obscene.”

Thank you Megan

ex.tic.tion wit.ness can be  followed on Facebook and on the web at:

to read the latest post which features Sew The SEEDS please go to:



100 Years Ago Today

Today, September 1, 2014, marks the 100 year anniversary of the death of Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon. Possibly the most abundant bird ever, Passenger Pigeons numbered in the billions, Martha was the last of her kind. Martha is also the heart of this project. When I learned about her as a child I couldn’t believe that people could let such a thing happen, and a visceral abhorrence of extinction has stuck with me ever since. We live at a time when, unless we make a concerted effort, mass extinctions on scale with the extinction of the dinosaurs will be upon us. My hope is that what happened to the Passenger Pigeon will be a lesson to us all, and that we, as a species, will work towards the preservation of all species.

Below are a series of photos, taken by my daughter Apple Cuneo, of Passenger Pigeon skins at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.
Martha PanelPassenger Pigeon Skins DSC_4207DSC_4183Passenger Pigeon Skin

There is some question of as to the likelihood of a wild pigeon being shot at this late of a date

There is some question of as to the likelihood of a wild pigeon being shot at this late of a date

Works in Progress

The extra panel for 2014 is being made for the Center for Biological Diversity. Using fabric from 47 Ronin donated by the Universal Costume Department we are focusing on the plight of coral reefs, their bleaching and devastation due to warming oceans and increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. Students from both Ms Harada and Ms Rabina’s classes worked on pieces of the coral for this panel.

Coral Reef Panel in progress

For my third panel I’m working on the Thylacene, the largest carnivorous marsupial of modern times. The last Thylacene died in 1936 after a conscious effort to exterminate them.
Thylacene Panel in progress

First Photos in of Finished Quilt!

Here are the first photos of this years Sew the SEEDS quilts. The individual panels will be posted to the panels link after we arrange a photo shoot.

Peregrin Falcon, Townsend's Big-Earred Bat, Golden Lion Tamarin, Orangutan,, Black Rhino, Mohave Fringe-Toed Lizard, and the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark.

Peregrin Falcon, Townsend’s Big-Earred Bat, Golden Lion Tamarin, Orangutan,, Black Rhino, Mohave Fringe-Toed Lizard, and the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark.

Monarch Butterfly, Bumblebee, Emperor Penguin, Hawaiian Monk Seal, Grey Wolf, Musk Ox, and Florida Panther.
Monarch Butterfly, Bumblebee, Emperor Penguin, Hawaiian Monk Seal, Grey Wolf, Musk Ox, and Florida Panther.


We’re Starting!

A solar eclipse and new moon today! Hopefully an auspicious beginning for this year’s Sew The SEEDS quilt project at Thomas Starr King Middle School. This year Ms Harada’s class will be doing the Black Rhino, Townsend’s Big Eared Bat, the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, the Orangutan, the Mohave Fringe-toed Lizard, the Peregrine Falcon, and the Golden Lion Tamarin. Ms Rabina’s class will be doing the Emperor Penguin, the Florida Panther, the Hawaiian Monk Seal, the Grey Wolf, the Monarch Butterfly, the Bumblebee and the Musk Ox.

The kids will be reading ‘Scat’ by Carl Hiaasen to tie in with the Florida Panther, and they will once again be learning about biomes, and food webs, as well as exploring persuasive writing techniques so they can reach others with their knowledge of endangered species.

We’ll be posting more as we go. Please check us out and consider making your own panels at home or in class

Fabric Donation from Universal Studios

Sew the SEEDS received a very generous donation of fabric from the Universal Studios Costume Shop. The donation consisted of unused and remnant fabric from the movie 47 Ronin. Thank you so much to Poppy Cannon Reese, from the Universal Studios Costume Shop, and to Leslie Weinstein of Friends of King, for making this happen. Ms Harada and Ms Rabina’s classes will be putting this gift to good use this spring. The fabric is much appreciated.

Activist Spotlight

The Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973. According to the Supreme Court, the intent of the Endangered Species Act was to “to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.” On the 40th anniversary of the signing of this incredibly important law, Sew The SEEDS is please to be featured in the Center for Biological Diversity’s Activist Spotlight. Many thanks to Anna Mirocha, Angela Crane, and everyone at the Center for Biological Diversity. 

FEDCO Teacher Grant

We’re incredibly proud to announce that Ms Aileen Rabina applied for and received a FEDCO Teacher Grant through the California Community Foundation.The grant is for $2,000 to cover materials for the quilt, books and magazines for the research component, and admission and bus costs for a field trip to the Long Beach Aquarium this coming spring. Yay Ms. Rabina, you’re the best!!

New Energy News on Sew The SEEDS

We were extremely fortunate to have New Energy News write an article on our Sew The SEEDS project . Our sincere thanks to New Energy News and Herman Trabish. Read the article here, and continue to check out New Energy News online.


New Energy News can be found at

Sew The SEEDS can also be found on Facebook. We have both a FB page and a FB group.


Sew The SEEDS and the Sea Turtle Restoration Project

As part of our school quilt project at Thomas Starr King Middle School this past spring students from Ms Harada and Ms Rabina’s class made an additional panel for the Sea Turtle Restoration Project.

TIRN panel cutout vrs 2A


I was delighted to be able to personally deliver the panel to Dr Chris Pincetich at the Turtle Island Restoration Network Offices in northern California. For more on the Sea Turtle Restoration Project and Turtle Island Restoration Network go to: