When a new show is set up at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre, the biggest and most striking piece often goes on the back wall, above the dais.
At the new show by the Mt. Revelstoke Quilter’s Guild, that honour went to Jill Leslie, who’s large and dazzling quilt encompassed the white wall. The quilt showed an intricate landscape design of mountains, forests, wildflower meadows and fish-filled rivers.
My first reaction was that it was a Revelstoke landscape, but in fact it was meant to evoke the town of Sisters, below the Three Sisters mountains in Oregon.
Leslie and her sister went to the town’s famous quilt show one year and they both bought the same kit. The plan was to work on it together whenever they could. Five years later, they were still at it. “At Christmas we decided to divide it all up and finish it,” said Leslie. “I knew this show was coming and my goal was to finish it for this.”
The result is a brightly coloured quilt that evokes a true mountain landscape. The many, many pieces had to be intricately sewn together.
“It’s paper-pieced. For one of these, there’s a piece of paper,” she explained, pointing at the quilt. “You do it in reverse. You stitch on these lines on the paper and then you peel the paper off ad this is what the front looks like.”
Once it was all pieced together, Linda Walford did the stitching work. “It was a lot of work but I’m really pleased with it now that it’s done,” said Leslie, who had been quilting for 20 years.
Leslie’s was one of several dozen quilts hanging on the walls or from the ceilings at RVAC. I also spoke to Diane McKay about her quilt, called Shadow City. The design featured several columns that faded from darker to lighter shades and back again. It was based on a design by Kristy Zacharias but McKay chose all the patterns.
“It’s picking out all the fabrics that is the hardest part. To get them all to blend together,” said McKay. “ Once you get started on it you just follow the pattern.
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One of the most interesting aspects is the quilting, that was done by Chris Leithwood. The stitching was designed so that when you turn it over, a pattern of butterfly’s appears on the back.
The last person I talked to was Eleanor Hills, who’s quilt featuring a scene from the Serengeti I photographed several times from different angles. It featured a bright sunset, with a giraffe and a tree silhouetted in the foreground.
“The part that was the most difficult was the black – it was an applique,” Hills said. “You had to stitch around each piece with the black. It was a heavier fabric and if I wouldn’t do it the same if I were to do it again.”
The quilt hangs above her fireplace at home.
The show by the Mt. Revelstoke Quilters Guild runs until November 1. Visit the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre website for opening hours.