All quilts are machine pieced cyanotype photographs and/or photograms
and are machine quilted unless otherwise noted.
American Wing V
99" x 78"
Machine pieced cyanotype photographs, handquilted.

Collection of Beverly Fiske

ORIGINALLY TRAINED AS A POTTER, I began working with cyanotype in 1975, while my family was in the process of building a home in New Hampshire.  I’d taken slides as my brothers dismantled and moved an old barn to the building site several years previously, and I’d since recorded the construction of the house from the old barn timbers. I had noticed that the construction blueprints faded, and I was intrigued when I happened to attend a workshop during which cyanotypes were discussed and  I learned that these were blueprints which would not fade.  I decided to attempt to illustrate five year’s progress in building by making a blueprint quilt from a few of the hundreds of slides I’d taken.
Hammerbeam Variations
46" x 46""
Machine pieced cyanotype photographs, handquilted.
Morrow: Airy Timber Frame
48" x 48"
NH % for the Arts Program, Rochester Court House, Rochester, NH.
THE FIRST QUILT, completed in 1975, was to be precisely this:  a personal record of the building.  While making the cyanotypes, however, I noticed the images change from colored pictures—slides—to rather abstract shapes in blue and white.  These abstract shapes could be reversed simply by flipping over the kodalith negative.  By piecing together reversed, and sometimes upside down, blueprints I discovered that there might be no end to the variety of patterns I could create on the quilt.  Thus the quilt, which I’d begun as a personal record of a building project, opened the way to experiment with designs on succeeding quilts—an experiment that has become an overriding interest for me.  Working for over 25 years before the advent of personal computers and such programs as Photoshop, I laboriously made kodalith negatives and positives from my own color slides in my darkroom, mixed my own light-sensitizing chemicals, coated my fabric, exposed the fabric, made contact-printed cyanotype
Maine Coast Triptych (#2 of three quilts)
43" x 28" (each quilt)
Machine pieced cyanotype photographs.
photographs using only the sun as a source of ultraviolet light and used spring water to wash my prints.   Layers of meaning or messages transformed, from the literal to the abstract, from through-the-lense photographs to photograms, creating with light and exposures have inspired my works.    Disguised within the manipulation of images and parts of images in this mesmerizing, intense, regal, ferro-prussiate blue are the puzzles of my art.  Expanding from a simple, sometimes mundane object, place, scene or experience the cyanotype quilts explore everything from a friend’s world to Morris dancing, from dairy farming to the railroad.  Many, many timber frame building projects, my own personal house included, found their way onto fabric. More recently impressions from travel to Japan and to the Galapagos Islands served as catalysts for cyanotype works, although by this time the use of hand dyed fabrics has allowed for more emotional expression of the mysterious within the common.
May Flowers
49" x 49"
Machine pieced cyanotype photographs.

Collection of Dr. Mark and Fran Ludwig

Hands of Light
47" x 47"
Machine pieced cyanotype photographs.

Collection of Dr. Linda Haltinner

AMERICAN PATCHWORK QUILTS traditionally have been made by piecing fabric in geometric patterns.  I’ve found myself establishing patterns—often, not geometric—using a photographic image and repeating it.  Each succeeding quilt has its own distinct graphic image, yet this image can usually be traced to a photographic slide or two or three.  What began as a mild interest in technique has become an almost obsessive interest in graphic organization, in surface patterns and design.

THIS IS A PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTING PROCESS (contact) for which I make my own kodalith negatives.  A piece of 100% cotton fabric is coated with a solution of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide and allowed to dry in a dark room.  The coated cotton fabric is placed with the kodalith negative between two sheets of glass and this sandwich is left out in early morning summer sun for six to eight minutes.  It is the ultraviolet light of the sun that causes the iron-based chemicals coating the fabric to turn blue.  Once the exposure is complete, the fabric print is brought inside where it is washed in warm running water for about fifteen minutes.  It is during the washing that the ferro-prussiate blue color emerges.  At this point the wet cyanotype print is fixed on the fabric and it is hung to dry.  It is now an archival photographic print.  The cyanotypes are then pieced and a quilt top is made.

45" x 42"
Machine pieced cyanotype photographs, hand quilted.

Fiber Award: Mid 1980s Annual Juried Exhibition, League of NH Craftsmen.

Hays Collection, Washington, D.C.

Contact Tafi below for more information about the quilts and availability.