Quilt for Two Rivers: Remeandering Whychus Creek

April 15, 2012 at 4:00 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:

“REMEANDERING WHYCHUS CREEK”

When I was invited to participate in this project I envisioned creating something totally different.  The orientation and hike to the area opened my eyes to an inspiring project of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, the U.S. Forest Service and Deschutes Land Trust.

The Camp Polk Meadow restoration area guide talked about returning the straight channel to the original meander of the creek.  I didnʼt fully understand what that was all about. With some research after the hike I was able to figure out fish like to hide under logs, and they like slow water with pools, riffles and glides.

It was an“ah-ha” moment for me, since Iʼm not a fisherwoman. The project, to dig a meandering channel through the meadow, would start the process of returning the creek to its original flow and provide quality habitat for fish and other wildlife.

The groups planted some 180,000 native plants, placed 5,000 cubic feet of rocks and 700 logs, and moved fish that were left behind. I wanted to design a quilt that represented some of these things.

When I visited Camp Polk Meadow the skies were grey and the vegetation mostly gold, brown, some green, with an occasional orange. I wanted to represent the remeandering of the creek very simply with the meander being the focus. I pieced and appliqued layers of fabrics and colors. I designed a view from an old Ponderosa pine tree to show some representative rocks and logs along the creek.

Betty Gientke quilting in the great outdoors by the Snake River in Idaho

There are some representative eddies and pools–and you just might just find one of those elusive fish if you look hard enough.

Itʼs been a privilege to be part of this project. It has given me an increased appreciation for the work of the restoraton groups and the value of the remeandering of Whychus Creek.

Thanks to Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, The Stitchinʼ Post and those working to bring back native fish for the opportunity and challenge to design a piece of the two rivers. I am calling my quilt “Remeandering of Whychus Creek.”

–Betty Gientke

Did You Know?
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, one sponsor of the Quilt for Two Rivers, is the largest of its kind in the world.  It has become a “bucket list” event that has inspired quilters for almost 40 years.  And it’s more than just a one day show.  The organization enhances the cultural and economic vitality of Sisters and Central Oregon through educational and fundraising activities year-round.

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