Two Rivers Three Sisters: How It All Came Together

June 7, 2012 at 4:00 am 1 comment

The artwork formerly known as the Quilt for Two Rivers has a new name: Two Rivers Three Sisters.  Fiber artists collaborating on the installation are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece, which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Wild & Scenic Rivers.  Featured this week:

Last summer I was approached by Ann Richardson of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show to help in creating and implementing the Quilt for Two Rivers, now renamed Two Rivers Three Sisters.  Nationally, a few art quilt groups  have created a project like this in the past and when I reviewed the work I was really excited to take on the task.

I designed the layout of the river, created a few ground rules, cut blank paper the size of each quilt, marking only where the river was to enter and exit the artist’s quilt.  We then invited 20 art quilters to participate in the project.  It was up to the individual quilter to design and create her own collaborative piece of art.

The quilting group was invited to a day of hiking and education with representatives from the National Forest Foundation (NFF), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and Deschutes Land Trust (DLT) which intrigued me since  I have lived in Central Oregon for 28 years and really enjoy the outdoors.

That day was quite an eye opener!

Whychus Creek runs through Sisters, Oregon on the way to the Deschutes River and until recently, it ran dry in places by summer.  This would happen due to water for irrigation rights being drawn from Whychus Creek through the upper end of Central Oregon. I was so impressed when I found out about the efforts of the NFF, USFS, Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, Deschutes River Conservancy and DLT to restore this river, bringing the fish and vegetation back!

One of Whychus Creek’s many canyons

I created the last quilt in the series because my vision was to have the river wind into a canyon as there are so many beautiful rock cliffs in the area.  Taking pictures, and drawing from memories of my hiking experiences, I created an abstract quilt that completes the river mural. The techniques used were curved piecing with machine appliqué and beadwork added for a final touch.

Donna Rice with her Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt panel

My hope is that not only the artists will have enjoyed their donation to river restoration but that viewers of the Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt will learn from, and respect the efforts of, the many people involved.

It really does take a village of devoted individuals to successfully complete an important project of this magnitude.

–Donna Rice

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Quilt Helps Spread Awareness of the Value of Wild & Scenic Rivers & Native Fish Two Rivers Three Sisters: A Masterpiece of Contemporary American Fiber Art

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