The inspiration for this art quilt came to me during our trip to Roosevelt National Park in July of 2021. I was captivated by the sandwich layering of rock, running in parallel lines that eroded down over thousands of years. It suggested to me a string pieced quilt. For the next several months I thought about my concept and puzzled over how I could bring it to life in fabric.
Our photographs were disappointing. It was high noon, and pervasive smoke dulled the light. No shadows were in evidence and the colors were muted. I decided to rely on an internet image for my working reference photo,
To get from concept to finished art is a long process. I started by making a value sketch. Next, I drew a pattern to scale, identifying major segments and eliminating excessive detail.
Here’s the part all fiber artists (including myself) find extremely creative: choosing fabrics. Since I like to use watercolor, I painted my swatches. After assigning a hue and value to each segment on my pattern, I picked out the fabrics to best achieve my color scheme of orange, blue-purple and blue-green.
Here’s an aside about the fabric I chose. Ultimately, I couldn’t find fabrics that had the colors and textures that I needed. To get there, I painted on printed fabric for most parts of the quilt. I also selected a few batik prints that were close enough, with only minor adjustments to color.
With the design decisions made and fabric selected, I began to assemble the quilt. All of the techniques that I used in making this quilt I learned from two fiber artists: Annette Kennedy and Gloria Loughman.
I thank these artists for giving me the skills I needed at the time I needed them.
And here is Badlands in its final form:
The design is invigorated by lines running in parallel diagonally and horizontally. Where the diagonals meet, triangles are formed. These shapes lead the eye to the center where two focal points have a quiet conversation across the river valley.
As a final note, I want to acknowledge the influence on my style of pop artist David Hockney. A print of his painting, Garrowby Hill, hangs over our fireplace.
My imagination has traveled that blue road countless times over the past twenty years.