Art Quilt: Dragons in the Canopy

The making of Dragons in the Canopy began with the combination of: a desire to make a round quilt; reflections on reading Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard; moss green low immersion crumple dyed cotton; and a linoleum block I carved and letterpress printed on cotton that was based on California's state lichen, lace lichen, Ramalina menziesii. A friend noted that the block reminded her of dragons, and I said I would think about that. As I began piecing, dark orange and red insisted on a spot among the moss greens, so those bursts clinched the dragon concept, as did the gold QuiltGate fabric scraps of gold lightning printed on black. I was also getting inspiration from work by Richard Diebenkorn (notably how the canvas is divided up in Untitled no. 20, 1984, which you can see here) and Dorothy Caldwell.

Dragons can be dragons or metaphors. The title has many possible meanings. A threat of fire or clear cutting in an old growth forest. Human actions and natural environments. A reminder of reality even in revelry. Brightness in shade. A deeper, unseen presence. These are some possible interpretations.

Dragons in the Canopy
30.25" round (77.5 cm)
Hand-dyed cotton and velvet; cotton; ice-dyed binding; letterpress printing from linoleum block; hand quilted with cotton embroidery and sashiko threads


Lace lichen in an oak tree at Lafayette Reservoir, California (2.28.22):