Art Quilt: The Water Is Rising and I'm Looking for a Bridge

Little by little this quilt built itself. I knew I wanted to print on fabric again and got out my linocut library: linoleum blocks I had carved for previous projects. The women called to me, so I put the other plants and birds and teapots away and just waited for them to speak. They didn't. Then one did. I had carved her for the 1995 collaboration with Anne Schwartzburg Stevens, Tidal Poems. A woman wading in the water on a windy day. I printed her again, this time in black, on a variety of hand-dyed and treated cottons. Ice dye, tie dye, decoloured, crumple dye, and on a few commercially printed scraps.

Having just seen an article about Louise Bourgeois's paintings, I had ordered the catalogue, and studied the paintings for composition ideas. Another circle quilt, maybe. No, an egg. The egg became a matryoshka (Russian nesting) doll, and the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. The tide was coming in, bringing together the title and concept.

The Water Is Rising and I'm Looking for a Bridge
24"w x 37.5"h (61 cm x 95 cm)
Hand-dyed cotton and velvet; appliqué; letterpress printing from linoleum block and wood type; hand and free-motion quilted


Free-motion quilted waves, whip stitch around the edges of the appliquéd egg (this took the longest). Some letterpress from wood type fragment from the Giant Kelp quilt, Holdfast, hand-dyed dusty blue velvet from All the Pretty Bones.

A little sashiko and beadwork. More of Velma's olive green cloth on the right.

Here she was in the book, Tidal Poems, printed on painted paper. Every page in every book was different.