A Virtual Gallery Tour . . .

My quilt show, “Piece By Piece: Fiber or Glass” opened last evening at The Gallery of By Design.  About a dozen people I knew stopped in to look at my art. For those who couldn’t make it, I’ve put together a virtual gallery tour (it’ll have to be the “next best thing to being there”).

Here’s the front door of the gallery:

Gallery Front Door
Gallery Front Door

Yeah, this must be the place because this is the poster in the window (and just a ghost reflection of me taking the picture).

Poster in the Gallery window
Poster in the Gallery window

Here, let’s step inside and see what we see . . .

Inside the front door . . .
Inside the front door . . .

To our left, is “Celtic Cross,” 41″ by 66″, an early piece (the second Celtic knot I ever did), and to the right of it is my Artist Statement.

Celtic knot cross, 41" x 66"

Here’s a detailed shot of the piece:

Celtic knot cross, detail
Celtic knot cross, detail

I used a fusible web to position all the pieces, then I closely quilted everything with a 1″ grid (just in case the fusible gave way).

For ease of reading, here’s the text of my Artist Statement:

Piece by Piece: Fiber

Celtic knots fascinate me.

Celtic knots are endless loops: they twist and turn; they weave over and under; and they end up where they began.

Tracing the path of a Celtic knot is hypnotic and meditative.

The pieces displayed here are large-scale Celtic knot appliques, a departure from the method usually used.

Others use a narrow strip of fabric, called bias tape, to physically recreate a Celtic knot which only looks good at close range, where you can see the details of the knot.

In contrast, I use shapes separated by gaps to depict the twists, turns, and weavings of the knot and can be seen from across the room.

Sometimes Celtic knots are comprised of multiple strands.

I color each strand differently to set it apart from the others and to highlight its relationship to the others.


Across the room, to our right is “A Matter of Scale,” 39.5″ by 57″.

"A Matter of Scale," 39.5" by 57"
“A Matter of Scale,” 39.5″ by 57″
"A Matter of Scale," detail
“A Matter of Scale,” detail

Along the left wall further into the room is a small table where Lillian, the gallery owner, has sign-in sheets, artists’ statements of current and past shows, and our business cards.  I just designed new business cards a day ago.  What do you think??

New Business Card
New Business Card

A little past the table on the left is a wall with four more pieces:

Along the wall . . .
Along the wall . . .

The first piece is “Tri-Color Knot,” 16″ by 16″:

"Tri-Color Knot," 16 " by 16"
“Tri-Color Knot,” 16 ” by 16″

The second piece is “Circular Knot/II,” 43″ by 47″:

"Circular Knot/II," 43" by 47"
“Circular Knot/II,” 43″ by 47″
"Circular Knot/II," detail
“Circular Knot/II,” detail

The third piece along this wall is “Knotted Band/I,” 24.5″ by 59″.

"Knotted Band/I," 24.5" by 59"
“Knotted Band/I,” 24.5″ by 59″
"Knotted Band/I," detail
“Knotted Band/I,” detail

The last piece on this wall is “Circular Knot/I,” 39.5″ by 44.5″.

"Circular Knot/I," 39.5" by 44.5"
“Circular Knot/I,” 39.5″ by 44.5″
"Circular Knot/I," detail
“Circular Knot/I,” detail

Now, there’s one more piece to show you . . . I saved the best for last, but first a lead-in.

I launched this blog four months ago to do three things:  explore the Celtic knot font; demonstrate my new technique for large-scale applique; and, chronicle the creation of a new body of work for this very gallery show. When Lillian approached me about mounting a quilt show, I said, “Sure! But, can you gimme some time to create a new body of work?” She had seen my previous patchwork quilts on Nacho Grandma’s Quilts and Tessellation Nation, but this was gonna be “and now for something completely different” (for you Monty Python fans out there).

It’s been a learning process for me, too. For the first pieces (“Celtic Knot Cross,” “Tri-Color Knot,” “Knotted Band/I,” and “Circular Knot/I”), I fused the fabric in place, then closely quilted the entire surface, just in case the fusible gave way (and, in places, it already has).

For “Circular Knot/II” and “A Matter of Scale,” I fused the shapes into place, then stitched around the edges of the shapes. Since I wasn’t as worried about the shapes falling off, I grid-quilted a lot looser (2″ instead of 1″).

Since the background of “Celtic Knot Cross” is white, I quilted with white thread; it didn’t detract from the design. Since the background of all the other pieces (except “Tri-Color Knot”) is black, I quilted with black thread, and I used black thread to stitch around the shapes of “Circular Knot/II” and “A Matter of Scale.”

This brings us to the final piece, which I completed just days before hanging the show last week. This piece is “Knotted Band/II,” 30″ by 60″.

"Knotted Band/II," 30" by 60"
“Knotted Band/II,” 30″ by 60″
"Knotted Band/II," detail
“Knotted Band/II,” detail

The first thing I did differently was stitch the shapes down with matching thread, yes!! It made a world of difference!!

Secondly, I ran out of batting for this piece. (Actually, I had finished the top late at night, the fabric store was closed, and I was too anxious to continue to just go to bed.) I rummaged around and found some quilting-by-the-yard I had bought for some project or other. I used it between my backing and my top as though it were just batting. Since it was already quilted, I wasn’t worried about it shifting and bunching, and I used a lot less safety pins to keep the layers together.

I quilted about one-quarter inch away from the shapes with black thread, but I did not do any quilting on top of the shapes with the black thread, yes!! I quilted a diamond pattern in the open areas around the knot that roughly matched the diagonal within the knot.

So there you have it . . . the culmination of four months’ worth of fusing and quilting. The show will hang in the gallery for a month, and I hope the pieces sell. If not, I’m behind two baby quilts at my office, and they’ll gladly accept my gifts.

What’s ahead? A co-worker has commissioned a pair of Celtic knot crosses as gifts to her church; a leatherman in Arizona wants a leather pride bed quilt for an organization he’s involved in (he’s paying for the quilt so it’s HIS donation and not mine); and, I have a few more ideas for large-scale Celtic knots to try out (what if I do away with batting and back the applique with upholstery fabric??  or, put the applique directly on the upholstery fabric??).

Thanks for reading my blog!!

28 thoughts on “A Virtual Gallery Tour . . .

    1. Thank you, Maggie!!

      Are you looking for a workshop for this?? You’re at least the second person to ask me, though the other person suggested an online class. So far, I’m open!!

  1. Fantastic Raymond! Congratulations 🙂 I know how much work it took to get to this space… So… Very, very wonderful… All the best to you…

    1. Thank you, Kathleen . . . people stood with their mouths agape when I told ’em I did it all in just four months. They asked, “did you do anything else??”

    1. Thank you, Gina!! At this point, I’ve only been quilting less than half my life, but I’ve been committed to learning ALL my life, LOL!!

      1. But if I recall you have been sewing in one form or another for all (most, sans childhood, LOL) all of your life….

        1. I started sewing when I was a sophomore in high school (1971) . . . so I’ve been at it forty years!!

  2. Raymond
    What a presentation! These quilts show so well, and thank you for the tour. It’s so fun to see your mind in action over what more you can do or what you will do next. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hey Raymond, I KNEW you were good all those years ago when you’d come into Hancocks with a quilty question… Now it’s just been proven. BEAUTIFUL is all I can say… and if I can , I’ll ask that we have a workshop (and lecture) with you in the center of guild. I’ll tell the VP we need to have you. grin…

    1. Cindy, thank you for the compliment and the promotion!!

      I’m still “working out the kinks” on the method, but a workshop could be fun!!

  4. I really enjoy the show. (Enjoyed the faint reflection of you with the poster – good idea). My favorite is the lavender/purple cross. So peaceful. I felt I could just stand here (or sit here) and stare at it for hours. Then I realized I really wanted to touch it because of the quilting – it’s so dimensional (as in intriguing)- and soft looking.

  5. Hi Raymond, I love these quilts! My favourite is the circular design. Thanks for the tour. I did have just one problem though – I followed a link to Knotwize and spent over an hour designing celtic knots LOL! Fascinating and lots of fun.

    1. You’re very welcome . . . I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.

      Um, er, the management assumes no responsibility for time wasted invested in other sites!!

  6. I’ve enjoyed reading about your discovery of Celtic knotwork and the development of your process of making your quilts. Keep up the good work!

    The Gallery show looks fabulous!!

    1. Thanks, Scarlett!!

      The next project is a set of liturgical paraments: a pair of Celtic knot crosses, an altar cloth, and a lectern.

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