for a little while, i painted in fabric.  i called those paintings "scrappliques". they were made from fabric scraps, meticulously collected in boxes and given to me by my favorite ladies over 80, norma and aunt june.  they were framed in quilters hoops, or appliqued to jackets.  making these pieces was a necessary departure from painting. after mass-producing over five hundred paintings for a hotel in portland,  i was burned completely out, never wanted to see a canvas or a paintbrush or paint tube again.  but the sewing machine, it was rhythmic, and meditative.  i could combine color and texture, and never even pick up a brush. i made a few of these pieces, six to be exact. two deer, two urban landscapes, a bird, and a forest.   and then i quit.  today, i revisited the technique and made my seventh, a chum salmon, a christmas present for james.

i recently went to the laconner quilt museum and saw some work there that really blew my mind.  i may have been under the illusion that i was some kind of innovator when it came to my "scrappliques",  but man was i wrong.  quilting has been alive and well, for hundreds of years thank you.  people have been pushing the boundaries, and quilting has been elevated to high art, whether or not the art world at large would like to acknowledge it.  (which brings me to the quilts of gee's bend.  just a bunch of ladies, making blankets out of scraps for their families, bending the rules a bit to suit their purposes, and making some of the most beautiful. undulating and geometric, functional works of art i have ever seen.)  yes, i think i may be ready to tear into those fabric scrap boxes again.


  1. jb, this is beautiful. there is a small quilt exhibit at the library i work at and i am equally astounded by the deft at which the artists maneuver the needle of the machine. they are literally painting with polyester and cotton and it pretty much blew my stereotypes of what quilting can be out of the water. i still lust after the steakburger scrapplique, but i guess i'll have to wait until pat bonin is willing to divest of it from his personal collection. one day. much love to you and james.

  2. Love this! Nice shout out for the Quilt Museum, Breta Malcolm says thanks. :-) I'm so happy the deer lives with us.