Saturday, June 04, 2011

Another "Oregon" quilt

I started working on a new quilt for the next Oregon SAQA show. The theme is Oregon:State of Diversity II. Basically the same theme as the last show. I am really getting a little tired of all the Northwest and Oregon themed show themes. I have made quilts depicting Mt. Hood, the state tree of Oregon, the Douglas Fir and the Oregon Coast. Oh yes, then there was the rain quilt—for the "Northwest Vibes" theme. I have been trying to think of a different approach. Instead of scenery, I thought about history. The Oregon Trail. People.

My great grandmother came to Oregon as a child over the Oregon Trail and I have lived, in Idaho, with a view of where the trail came through the mountains. I feel an affinity for the Oregon Trail. I am especially interested in the women and the children. What a hard life that must have been. And, of course there were people who were already here, also affected by the Oregon Trail—the Native Americans. The idea I am working on is about the women of the Oregon Trail—probably five. I started today with the Native American woman.

I started by making a sketch in Illustrator, then printing it out to use as a pattern. I started fusing fabrics to a background piece.

This represents a woman of one of the Columbia River tribes—Umatilla or Grande Ronde perhaps. I love the distinctive woven basket hats they wore traditionally, so I wanted to include one of them. I think it is coming along.

On our way home from the coast the other day my friends and I were talking about the new issue of Quilting Arts magazine which is all about portrait quilts. One of my friends said she doesn't like "people on quilts". I have to agree I have seen a lot of pretty awful people on quilts. So, why do I keep making quilts with people on them? Contrariness, I guess. Or maybe I am just fascinated with faces.  This could be a big old failure.


  1. You chose an image which holds meaning to you. Your prior knowledge and respect for the woman and the cultural aspects of the people of that period will come through in your portrait of her.

    It is already a success.

  2. Oregon Trail is a good starting point. I recommend you "Rendevous" and "Traces" by Steben, Gildermeister and Gray. These are lovely books compiled in the late 1970's. There are interesting stories of people along the trail and some great images also. The books were published by Bear Paw publishing and I am quite sure all three of the guys were at least one time residents of Union County.

  3. Your faces are great. Make whatever you are moved to make!