Coming up for a name for this photoquilt was actually a bit of a challenge. Originally, I was thinking about something clever like Give Me 300, a nod to the number of high fives in all of the photos. But in the end, I settled on Blanket because the quilt looks so much like a woven blanket from the American Southwest, Mexico, and many other places. In fact, the blanketness was so compelling that I used multicolored cotton thread and added some decorative stitches in addition to those that sew the photos together. So, in a way, Blanket has more quilting than most of my other photoquilts.
The original photo that I used for this photoquilt was taken by my friend Mark Koenig at Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture, a location that has previously been the subject of one of my Ohio Star photoquilts. When I was talking to Mark about making an Ohio Star photoquilt using one of his photos, I chose two images as possible subjects. This is the one I didn’t use. I love the colors and the composition, but in the end I didn’t think the lines would work well in an Ohio Star. After deciding it wouldn’t make a good Ohio Star, I laid the prints out in neat rows, which brought out a repetitive, woven quality. The repetition is similar to several of my other non-Ohio Star photoquilts. But in those quilts, each image varies veryslightly (or fully, completely), whereas in Blanket there is simply a single photo and its mirror image.
What started as a stack of rejected prints has become a bridge between my different series of photoquilts and a chance to try new quilterly techniques. The result has a certain comfortableness that wears the name Blanket well.
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.