A Processional Banner for an Ethnic Parade

A hand appliqued and quilted banner, "A Processional Banner for an Ethnic Parade"In a recent blog, the ethnic group I briefly considered starting, the NeMaS people, was written about. The whole, short campaign was in response to a number of gallery owners saying my work was too ethnic. (This was when I was first beginning as a professional art quilter, back in the early 80s.) Having designed a few wearables, I then figured that I needed a way to kick-off a promotional campaign, so what better way than to have a parade. Everybody loves a parade. right? So as I envisioned a mighty throng of fellow artistic lovers of bright colors, symbols, and bold patterns, I thought that the front of the parade would need some sort of banner. Thus, “A Processional Banner for and Ethnic Parade” was created.

Measuring about 40.5″ or 103 cm total width, and 56″ or 142 cm total height, the banner was hand appliqued and quilted. I wanted it to be lightweight enough that it could actually be carried along a several mile long parade route if need be. The dangles and streamers on the right side in the photo above just seemed fitting to add, so that they would flutter in a slight breeze.

Detail of "A Processional Banner for an Ethnic Parade"All of the small motifs were made of cotton and cotton blend fabrics and were hand appliqued onto the background. I was still using some of what would be considered traditional quilting ginghams. During my geometric period, if I used prints, they were small scale, and had a strong contrast with the main color. I then would pick up some of the detail colors and use solid fabric in as close of a match as I could. That way, when you were up close, there would be tiny bits of color that repeated the larger areas, just on a different scale. In this particular piece, I used commercial cotton piping to make a small rolled edge, as you can see in the orange edging around the gold band that holds the letters. That very small edging repeated the much wider gold fabric edging around the outside of the whole piece that you can see in the first photo.

Detail photo of hand appliqued and quilted art quilt, "A Processional Banner for an Ethnic Parade"Here is central motif that appeared in the middle of the banner. In an article that I had published about this piece back in the 80s, I spoke about how I thought about coming up with some symbolism for the various shapes, such as ovals symbolizing life and rectangles standing for the horizon. In reality, I used motifs that pleased my eye, and I wanted shapes that added to a big, bold composition. Looking at the entire piece, over 30 years later, I can see how much I needed to learn about composition. Still, I had great, good fun composing the piece, even though it only hung in my studio, and never made it to that intended parade.

I can also see now how my work was described as ethnic. At the time, I was just making pieces that pleased my eye. I suppose I could have listened to those gallery owners and made work that was more commercially viable. However, I have always had the good fortune to make work that makes my heart sing, and the buyers come as they will. My art feeds my soul and my heart knows what it needs.

NOTE: This posting was scheduled before Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the USA with full force. More postings will follow as electricity prevails.

How have you dealt with artistic criticism. What is your balance of creating from your heart and creating work to sell?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form below or by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my healing work at www.hearthealing.net and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.


  1. Lennox Blackwood says:

    I just loved the extraordinary mix of colours as seen on the Ethic Parade(?) quilted banner. How did you manage to come up with such a swatch? Would you be willing to work with me in the design of a fabric? Tel: +44(0)78405-94635

  2. Dear Lennox thanks for the compliment. I’ll send you an email so we can talk about your ideas.

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