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Monday, August 26, 2013

Aullwood 2013: Jean Liittschwager

"Spawning Salmon" 29" x 36"  Jean Liittschwager $750.00
 One of the first quilts as you entered the Aullwood Nature Center's 2013 art quilt show is "Salmon Spawning" by Jean Liitschwager.  Jean is no newcomer to the Aullwood show, but often exhibits her work at this venue.

I laughed when I saw this piece.....Jean is a 5th generation Oregonian...in a state full of transplants and relative newcomers.  Most of Jean's quilts do not follow this style, but one thing which is very much her style, Jean draws inspiration from her surroundings.  This particular piece is inspired by the Chilkat blankets (or robes) and dance aprons made by the Pacific North West tribes (Haida, Tlingit, Salishan, Tshimshian-Nishga, and Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka).  I think almost every quilter who is exposed to these pieces feels inspired to do pieces along the lines, I know I have succumbed to the pull after seeing them in Washington state.

Here, you see the stylized rendition of a salmon spawning, the eggs are the dots emerging from the bottom of the fish, and the sperm ( and bubbles from the stream) are around it to fertilize the eggs.  The pebbly bottom of the stream is there to receive the eggs.  The sole purpose of a salmon is to reproduce, and once it does so, it dies.  Thus, this is the perfect selection for the show's theme:  Season of life.  Jean combined elements from the Tlingit and Haida cultures.
 Originally, these pieces were made from "cloth" woven from cedar bark, cattail leaves and colored grasses.  Upper classes would have furs as well.  After contact with the Europeans,  wool was introduced and used heavily in the robes and aprons.

Jean took the palette from the cedar/cattail/grass combo for the background of her piece.  The dance aprons and robes often had fringe to add to the texture and movement and Jean's choice here in the fringe and the fabric are close to perfect.


She used suede cloth, cotton and wool with machine and hand stitching.  The pebbles here almost feel like you could reach to them and let them run through your fingers.
Here you can see some of her hand stitching.

Jean has a website where you can see more of her work here.

I was going to include her two other works...but  I realized this is getting a little wordy....so, come back tomorrow to see two more of her pieces!

2 comments:

Sherrie Spangler said...

I've gained a special appreciation for this style since moving to Washington state. It's a beautiful quilt. Thanks for sharing.

Marit said...

This is beautiful and such a wonderful rendition of the traditional art found in her area.

Thanks for sharing the works via photos from the Aullwood Nature Center Show!! I hope there will be more.