Four 12″ x 12″ blocks which together form a 24″ x 24″ photoquilt. Typically a new design begins with four blocks, which together are called a maquette or sketch. If the maquette is sucessful, a design may become a full-size photoquilt. Many maquettes are available for purchase framed or unframed. Contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This photoquilt was inspired by a box that my wife and I brought back from our honeymoon in Italy. The box is about six inches wide and is made of strips of semi-precious stones which were likely leftover from the other pieces for sale in the shop. When we asked what the pattern was called, we were told they call it “spaghetti.” We both loved the “use the whole buffalo” approach to the creation of the box as well as the overall effect of the random mix of stones, so we splurged and bought the box.
Last year, we finally had the chance to travel back to Europe where I was struck by the unique and colorful doors throughout the oldest part of Montpellier, France. I took pictures of hundreds of them for Les Portes de Montpellier. When that photoquilt was finished, I still had scores of prints left over. What to do? Cut them into strips and sew them back together, obviously.
The similar palettes first gave me the idea that this could work. The jewel tones in the doors of Montpellier are what first drew me to photograph them and the link to the colors in the box was obvious. The European connection and the approach to making use of otherwise discarded materials also tied the two together. There is also a sort of re-imagining of the image here. Unlike most of my other quilts, the subjects of the photos are almost completely obliterated. This results in a focus on the almost painterly surface instead of the details of each individual photo.
The spaghetti box and the Spaghetti photoquilt are two of my favorite souvenirs of our rare European adventures.
The Ohio State Fair attracts almost a million visitors to Columbus each summer. Whether you go for the animals, the butter cow, the deep-fried foods, the games, or the rides, as the cliche goes, there is something for everyone. This photoquilt came out of a series of panoramas I took at the fair in 2015. In this photo, both the straight and the curved lines of the ferris wheel reflect and refract against the cloudy blue sky as fairgoers stream past or line up for a ride. The wheel never fully resolves into a circle, instead merging into its neighbors, each of which is held in place by red steel girders which sometimes float in the sky. The overall effect is like that of a zipper, stitching the fair to the sky.
I usually choose more austere subjects for my quilts because I tend to be drawn to clean lines and shapes, like in the Columbus Museum of Art. But there are times, like in Ohio Stadium, when I can’t avoid a crowd, which usually sprials off into a tunnel of heads and feet. When I use pictures with cleaner shapes, I feel like I have more control. But, sometimes, I need to step outside of my comfort zone to see what happens when I start with a photo that is a bit messier and less organized. Sometimes art, like life, and like the state fair, can be a bit messy and hard to control.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the finest zoos in the country. Opened in 1927 and made famous by Jack Hanna, the Zoo has recently opened polar and African savanna regions. On a recent school field trip with my youngest daughter, I was wondering how I would capture this sprawling place in one photo. The front gates make a nice picture, and the manatees are a unique favorite, but neither one could really be framed in the way I wanted. Fortunately, we made our way to the polar bears during feeding time. There was a crowd up top, so we moved down below the water, where the bears were diving in and swimming around after bits of fish that were being tossed in by the keepers. The fish that swim with the bears were also enjoying a meal. With everything swimming around and the morning sun shining through the water, I got several interesting pictures of the bears, the fish, and the rays of light streaming through the water. When sewn into to the Ohio Star pattern, the diving bears multiply and the fish become brushstrokes that create shapes and designs that I didn’t expect. Overall, the palette really captures the feeling of being underwater.
This is the first piece I’ve done in collaboration with another artist and, therefore, the first time I’ve based a photoquilt on a photo that I didn’t take. I’ve always liked my friend Mark Koenig’s photos because of his eye for dramatic color and line. I recently gathered enough courage to pay him my ultimate compliment, “I like your photos so much that I’d like to cut them up and sew them back together.” I admit that this is an odd compliment to pay someone, but Mark knew what I meant and agreed to lend me a photo for a photoquilt. I first met Mark here in Columbus, and he took this picture in Ohio, so an Ohio Star photoquilt seemed appropriate.
After talking with Mark about a few of his photos, we decided on this image because of the jewel-toned color palette, the interesting angles, and the shape of the lights and the shadows they cast. It was taken at Knowlton Hall at Ohio State, which I’ve photographed for a photoquilt before, but working with someone else’s photo put an interesting spin on the process. For example, I usually don’t include people in my photos, but Mark’s friend Tiffany appeared in this one. I was leaning towards cropping the photo in a way that excluded her, a slight that he assured me she would forgive, but her boots and their shadows still managed to sneak into the corner of the image.
In the end, some of the shapes and patterns that are seen in my other Ohio Star photoquilts appear again in this piece, but, at the same time, Mark’s work shines through and the result is a unique combination of both of us.
I took this picture of the Franklin Park Conservatory on the same day that I took the picture for the COSI and Jesse Owens Memorial photoquilts. What a gorgeous, sunny day it was to visit a few of my favorite places in Columbus. The Conservatory was originally a grand Victorian greenhouse built in 1895. It has since expanded, but the original section is the subject of this photoquilt. The arching glass dome in the background and the Corinthian column and other architectural details of the main entrance in the foreground are in stark contrast. The overall effect is a bit like an M. C. Esher drawing being viewed under the Eiffel Tower.
Jesse Owens was a star at Ohio State before going on to win four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Although he was hailed as a hero for standing up to Hitler in Nazi Germany, he was still treated as a second class citizen when returned home. The centerpiece of the Jesse Owens Memorial Plaza is a bronze pyramid on which his many achievements are noted. The memorial is immediately north of Ohio Stadium which housed the track that he set so many records on until it was replaced by additional seating during a renovation of the stadium.
If you’ve ever been to the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio, then you know the wonderfully kinetic sculpture just outside the main doors. Science Spectrum, by William Wainwright is a tree-like windmill that sparkles in the sunlight and spins in the breeze. The first time I photographed this sculpture, it was cloudy. But I’m glad I returned on a sunny, cloudless day because the iridescent rainbow reflections of the sculpture shine even brighter against a deep blue sky.
In the fall of 2015, the Columbus Museum of Art expanded into the new Margaret M. Walter Wing, a modern, copper-clad box with a glass wall at each end. This photoquilt includes the copper walls on the side and bottom, the first floor glass at the end, and the cloudless sky. As the quilt evolves from bottom to top, more of the sky appears between the reflected corners of the building.
Update: This photoquilt was accepted into the 2017 Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition where it won a Crow Timber Frame Bart Art Retreat Scholarship. Handmade Chinese Coins was also accepted.
24″ x 24″
Ohio Star: Columbus Museum of Art block
12″ x 12″
Ohio Star: Columbus Museum of Art block
12″ x 12″
Two of my photoquilts on display at the 2017 Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibit.
Hagerty Hall is the home to foreign languages at Ohio State. The recently renovated building features an open central courtyard with brightly colored, Lego-like modular chairs that can be moved around to suit the conditions of the day. These chairs, against the wall of glass windows, form the subject of this photoquilt.
Ohio Stadium is a mecca for Buckeye football fans. In this photoquilt, the sea of fans recedes almost to the horizon within the stadium and individuals morph into each other. The shadow cast by the upper deck creates a striking black line that curves with the horseshoe shape of the stadium. The 24″ x 24″ quilt was on display at the Homeport Gallery through October 2015. The full-sized 4′ x 6′ quilt was completed at the end of October 2015.