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Former college basketball player turned himself into a quilting star

Posted at 11:03 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 23:10:07-04

A former college basketball player has a newfound calling — quilting.

It's a craft his mother taught him, but it's the Black artists who have guided his style.

He was a star on the court, No. 15 driving to the hoop for Emerson University. But Michael C. Thorpe’s real calling? Quilting.

Thorpe, 26, is a rising star, with his quilts selling for thousands of dollars and even being acquired by museums.

His quilts are unconventional. His inspiration? Romare Beardon's work, and Jacob Lawrence's abstract of Black life.

Thorpe’s mom said his own work is shaped by his identity.

“One day he created a self-portrait which will be proudly displayed in my home, and that was the start of this whole thing.”

After two years of working non-stop on his quilting designs, Thorpe can proudly say he's in galleries and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

His art is now creating a life he’s only dreamed about.

“I was able to move to New York City, the Big Apple, off quilts!" he said. "That is mind blowing. I’m making a living off quilts and living in the greatest city in the world.”

Michael will be opening his own studio in Queens by mid-August. If you'd like to find out how to buy one of Michael's quilts head to his website, just click here.