photoquilt - self portrait - facebook
Self Portrait: Facebook

Welcome to my online portfolio of photoquilts, artwork created by sewing photographs together.

Traditional fabric quilts are family heirlooms that often get handed down from generation to generation, but I never had one. Instead, I discovered quilts through my love of geometry and patterns. To me, quilt patterns were collections of puzzle pieces that together formed a larger, more complex image. In college, I read that Andy Warhol had sewn a few stitches into a couple of his photographs, so I decided to take photographs and sew them into quilts. I called these quilts made of photographs “photoquilts.”

Moving across the country led me to view quilt patterns through the lens of place. For example, I used pictures of the trees in my backyard and around my Central Illinois neighborhood to create the Fall Colours and Treetops / Snowflakes photoquilts. I also took hundreds of pictures of doors on a trip to France for Les Portes De Montpellier.

Ohio Star: Columbus Museum of Art photoquilt
Ohio Star: Columbus Museum of Art

Since moving to Ohio, I have begun working with a pattern called Ohio Star, a nine-patch pattern of squares and crosses formed by four triangles. Instead of working with multiple images in these photoquilts, I use only two: the original and its mirror image. By alternating these two images, the edge of every piece meets its reflection, creating a kaleidoscopic effect in which the boundaries between each piece almost completely disappear. By shifting which portion of each print is cut into each shape, I achieve a subtle variation across the finished photoquilt that gives the impression that one row of quilt blocks is evolving into the next. This results in the top of the piece being significantly different from the bottom, although each step of the transition is subtle.

For more information about my process, see the first segment of the video below, which aired on WOSU’s Broad & High.  You can also click on Buy Art for information on purchasing a photoquilt, on Ohio Star Photoquilts, Improv Photoquilts, and Other Photoquilts to see more of my work, or Questions / Contact for more information.  If you would like to contact me about my photoquilts, please email me at chris.mercerhill@gmail.com. Thanks for visiting.