While the fabric used to make a quilt most frequently is the starting place for its visual impact, occasionally a quilt ends up being more impressive for the actual quilting, that is the sewing together of the top and the lining, with an insulating layer between them. The quilt made by Chinz Pillar Print made by Abigail Kelly Evans in 1831 was made with whole cloth as a top. The fabric is printed with a repeating pattern of columns and sprays of flowers. While the fabric itself is beautiful, the interest in this quilt is imparted by the quilter’s having essentially outlined the entire design with stitching, reproducing the pattern on the back of the quilt. The use of whole cloth suggests that the maker had sufficient resources to purchase a large piece of what would have been expensive fabric, and sufficient disposable time to execute the elaborate quilting.
Carole Harris’s Take Me to the River, 2001, also derives visual impact from the artist’s use of quilting, as her stitching suggests the flow of water from a source located on the quilt’s upper left. Harris used earthen-toned fabrics and geometric shapes to piece the left quarter of the top, and a strip of purple fabric visually creates a barrier between this assemblage and a large field of dark fabric. The barrier is “broken” about a quarter of the way down, and by quilting large arcs the artist suggests the flow of water over and into the dark field. Her composition and the attendant quilting play a key role in the theme communicated by her design as well as her title.
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