My dear friend and quilting pal Vickie Wheatley has a great show of her bright, intricate quilts at PYRO Gallery. I have been working closely with Vickie for more than a year and it is a particular thrill to see pieces that we spent all day rearranging on the design wall finally on the gallery wall. But I was most interested in the variety of small details in the many pieces on display, which so clearly show her trying out new things and progressing in her body of work.
For some time now Vickie has been exploring a design that starts with strips of random black and white piecing that make a "road" diagonally through the middle of her block. Once that's in place, she fills out the corners of the block with colored strips. When she sets the blocks in fours, you see a big diagonal grid of black-and-white roads, or maybe a bunch of colored squares or diamonds floating above a sea of black-and-white, depending on how you look at it.
Then she adds a twist: she sticks little miscellaneous bits and cuttings under the quilting thread. And I do mean little -- some of the bits are only a quarter-inch wide. The contrast between these wildly irregular bits and the meticulously pieced quilt top adds excitement and texture.
|Anxieties #1: Imperfections
|Anxieties #4: The River Lethe
In #3 and #4 she adds sashing between the blocks, and cuts some of the square blocks into rectangles before sashing.
|Anxieties #3: Breakdown
As you can imagine, when you sew strips together and then cut triangles from them to make the corners of your blocks, you end up with a lot of leftovers. Vickie sewed more than a dozen small quilts from the leftovers, and it was fun to see how she varied their colors and personalities, even though she was working from the same huge scrap pile.
Meanwhile, the show is up at PYRO Gallery through March 21. Well worth a detour if you're anywhere near Louisville!