In my ongoing effort to simplify my work I decided to design a series of pieces that combined freeform zigzags, circles, and a few freeform curves. I drew the whole design in Corel Draw and had it printed by Spoonflower.com. I chose to limit my palette to cool colors, green, blue, purple, and a little chartreuse. As I arranged the shapes in the design, I made the areas where they overlapped into separate shapes and chose duller colors in those shapes to create the illusion that all the shapes are transparent. I quilted the black lines, and the lime green shapes with a regular sewing machine foot using heavy, #30 top-stitching thread. In the rest of the quilt, I used free-motion quilting with many different colors of thread and several different patterns, including circles combined with meanders, zigzags, and pebbles.
In February 2020 we did a photographic workshop/tour in Antarctica. I loved the serenity of this cormorant, floating among the ice bergs in the remote and pristine wilderness of Neco Harbor. I decided to incorporate a lot of negative space in my design and digitally painted the background in a gradation from aqua to white. My design and matching custom binding strips, were printed by Spoonflower.com. The cormorant and the water surrounding it are heavily quilted and thread painted. The negative spaces are quilted simply with a series of almost parallel lines that echo the ripples in the water. The backing fabric is from my Glacier Park collection for Benartex.
This design grew out of my series in which I combine freeform zigzags, circles, and a few freeform curves. In this case, I turned the circles into ellipses that ended up looking like eggs. I drew and painted the whole design in Corel Draw and had it printed by Spoonflower.com. As I arranged the shapes in the design, I made the areas where they overlapped into separate shapes and chose lighter, duller colors in those shapes to create the illusion that all the shapes are transparent. I shaded each shape from light to dark or color to color the create the illusion of an inner glow. Each of the ellipses also seems to fade away along one edge. I quilted the black lines and the wavy yellow shapes with a regular sewing machine foot (feed dogs up) and heavy #30 top stitching thread, and in the rest of the quilt I used free-motion quilting (feed dogs down) in many different colors of polyester & acrylic thread.
This spiraling color study was inspired by fractal designs. Petal shapes, which ombre from light to dark, were cut from colored rectangles that were digitally painted and sized to each template. Bud shapes were pieced and appliqued in contrasting colors. The background fabrics are from my “Color Flow” collection for Benartex, and they also gradate through the spectrum, with the same green in opposite corners.
In January of 2020, we visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, where they have an amazing raptor free-flight show. We shot hundreds of photos and this was the first one I chose as inspiration for a quilt. To create the design, I enhanced the image of the bird with digital editing and digital painting, then added a painted background in a gradation from white to black and gold. I used the pattern on the breast of the bird to create matching binding strips and hanging sleeves. The whole composition was printed on cotton fabric by Spoonflower. The grey hawk and the tree stump are heavily quilted, to the level of thread painting, the background is echo quilted with white thread.
This quilt is based on a photograph I took in Antarctica in February 2020 at an abandoned whaling station on Deception Island, which is actually the flooded caldera of an active volcano. The whaling station was used to produce whale oil from 1912-1931 and then abandoned, leaving behind steel tanks and furnaces that corroded from the salt spray and the sulfurous steam rising from the water’s edge. They were further damaged by a volcanic eruption and resulting mud slide in 1969. I found some interesting patterns in the corrosion on the decaying equipment. The image for Deception Decomposition #2 was cropped from one of these photos. The image was reshaped, recolored, and digitally painted. The image was duplicated and recolored again in complimentary colors (directly opposite on the color wheel). The duplicated images were rearranged to make a composition with repeating shapes and lines that continue from one side to the other. The final, whole design was printed on cotton fabric by Spoonflower. It is very heavily quilted, to the level of thread painting, with many different colors of polyester and acrylic thread. The binding strips are one-of-a-kind fabric, designed especially for this quilt.
In Paris, on a vast, cobblestone plaza, in front of the Pompidou Museum of Contemporary Art, I photographed a lone musician, absorbed with playing an instrument called a “hang”. Ten years later I decided to use this image in a quilt. Using a vector-design program I drew the outlines of the cobblestones and filled them with a gradation of rainbow colors. In the spaces between the cobblestones I used a gradation from white to black. What had been a water drain in my photograph became a diagonal line of black and white stripes, dividing the sky and ground. I designed the sky in another gradation of rainbow hues with a speckled pattern, reminiscent of the pointillist painting of Seurat, and in which you can see the subtle outlines of the Pompidou Museum façade. I painted the figure of the musician digitally, using my Microsoft Surface Design (touch screen) computer and gave him a colorful wardrobe of saturated colors to replace the browns and beiges he was wearing in real life. The composite image was digitally printed on cotton fabric. Many different colors of thread were used in the quilting, which approached the level of thread painting in the figure of the musician.
Vine #2 began with a doodle I drew many years ago and kept in my inspiration file. I decided to play around with it and see what happened. I tried several different shapes and arrangements and eventually it evolved into the pencil sketch on the left, which was copied onto clear acetate and projected onto freezer paper, using an overhead projector. The design was drawn full size on freezer paper to make the pattern. The fabrics include hand-dyed gradations, hand painted fabrics, and fabrics from the various collections I have designed for Benartex. In the quilting I used dozens of different colors of thread. The negative spaces are quilted in vine patterns.
The design for this quilt grew out of a series of drawings I did in 1987. I kept this design in my "inspiration" file for decades, always thinking I would eventually use it. I decided to make this piece a study in secondary colors (orange, green, and purple) and I consciously avoided blues and yellows. The background fabric was painted in a subtle gradation from purple to orange, echoing the subtle colors I see from my studio window almost every day as the sun rises over the water of Puget Sound. The quilting was done with dozens of different colors of thread in various organic patterns that might be found in nature. Although the theme of this quilt is “garden”, it is a purely abstract design and is not meant to represent any particular species.
This design was inspired by a small photo of a green moth which I had saved for many years in my “inspiration” file. Rather than copy the photo, I studied the colors and patterns of the moth, analyzing what had made me want to save the photo in the first place. Then I used some of these patterns and colors to create a completely abstract design. Some of the fabrics were hand dyed. The rest are from the various collections of fabric I have designed for Benartex, and are based on my hand-painted originals. I also added ink and pencil in some areas. The back of the quilt is a single piece of hand-painted sheeting. The quilting was done with dozens of different colors of thread, creating additional patterns and shading to compliment the overall design.