Two Rivers Three Sisters Quilt: The Quilter & The Conservationist

June 1, 2012 at 4:00 am 6 comments

The artwork formerly known as the Quilt for Two Rivers has a new name: Two Rivers Three Sisters.  Here’s the latest about the completed 40-foot masterpiece which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes: 

“THE QUILTER & THE CONSERVATIONIST”

When I tell people that I’m from Sisters, Oregon, their response is always, “Oh… do you quilt?”

I’m slightly ashamed to confess that I don’t quilt. I’ve resolved to take a beginner’s class at the Stitchin’ Post for years now, but I have never pieced together a block and I have only a vague notion what a bobbin is.

I’m part of the Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt project because I work for the National Forest Foundation (NFF), a nonprofit that brings people together to restore and enhance our National Forests.

NFF chose Sisters, more specifically Whychus Creek and the Metolius River, as a special site—a Treasured Landscape site—called the Tale of Two Rivers. In collaboration with many partners, NFF is working to restore our watersheds, bring back salmon and steelhead, and engage the community throughout the process.

Viewpoint on the new Whychus Creek trail in Sisters, OR

The stunning Two Rivers Three Sisters quilts raise awareness for Whychus Creek. Half of the funds from the quilt will be given to NFF to go directly to local on-the-ground restoration efforts.

This may seem like a funny partnership: quilters and conservationists, together? It’s actually as natural as peanut butter and jelly.

Quilters find inspiration in the forests and rivers that weave through our landscapes. They want to make sure that, just like a prized family quilt, this legacy of our National Forests, rivers, and wildlife is preserved for generations. The art of quilting and the affinity for National Forests are both part of our American identity.  Have a look at our new video to see what I mean:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf7q2En6pfw

The act of quilting is piecing together different fabric to make a unified whole. A talented quilter focuses on each seam, each section, with the big picture in mind. This is also how we restore our watersheds. Piece by piece we work on the banks of the rivers, the trails winding through the forest, and the wildlife habitat—always with the health and unity of the whole in mind.

There is an important communal aspect to quilting. During the time they craft, quilters are able to connect with a community—they stitch and laugh in groups, get together for advice, and take classes and retreats with friends. The Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt is a project in which 20 quilters have collaborated and connected, creating over 40 feet of amazing art. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Restoration is also communal. Hundreds of volunteers and donors have made local conservation efforts possible. NFF could not do what it does without friends and partners: the U.S. Forest Service; Deschutes Land Trust; Upper Deschutes Watershed Council; Deschutes River Conservancy; Sisters Trails Alliance; and others.

Student volunteers help out restoring Wild & Scenic River Whychus Creek on Earth Day 2012

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show has been an outstanding partner, helping connect NFF with a new audience and raise awareness of Whychus Creek through Two Rivers Three Sisters.  NFF is also grateful to the quilters who have poured hours into this trendsetting project. The quilts go beyond words, they flow together and connect in balance, they are teeming with fish and forests—they represent everything our restoration efforts hope to create.

Please join us in honoring these amazing artists and see the completed Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt on exhibit at the Artists’ Reception, June 15, 5 to 7 p.m., Black Butte Ranch Main Lodge.

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“Friendraiser Coordinator” aka Kathy, announces new membership program Quilt Helps Spread Awareness of the Value of Wild & Scenic Rivers & Native Fish

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