Quilt for Two Rivers: Spirits in the Trees

March 29, 2012 at 4:07 am Leave a comment

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes.  Featured this week:

“SPIRITS IN THE TREES”

Working on this project has been a wonderful education for me.   Being a new transplant to this area it has helped me gain a better understanding of the area and the history of the Whychus Creek.

Photo by Sarah Peery

As we hiked and learned about the area, I truly kept trying to see it through the eyes of the Native Americans as they must have experienced it: how pristine the water, how abundant the fish and how beautiful the forest that surrounded them.

As we learned its history, the naming and renaming of this creek resonated with me.  During one walk, we heard about it being called “Squaw Creek,” and soon after came across a clearing where on the opposite side there was a sandy beach, like it was the end of a trail through the trees down to the creek.  That brought images of women walking through the forest to a sandy area on the creek to do their laundry.  I almost felt their spirit amongst the trees.

While talking with one of the other artists, she brought up the work of Bev Doolittle, an artist known for depicting images of Native Americans and wildlife within the trees, rocks and landscape, as though their spirits remain.

As I looked through all my pictures of the area, I kept coming back to that sandy shoreline and thinking of the women toting their children on their backs coming through the trees,  This is the image that I wanted to depict within my quilt section – are they there or is it the bark on the trees?

It is so amazing to me that within minutes of Sisters you can find an area that takes you back in time where you can visualize discovering this place for the first time.

–Helen Brisson

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