Journal Entry: September 15, 2015.

In the summer of 2013, a devastating fire began in Black Forest, Colorado. Before all the fire was fully extinguished it burned 14,280 acres of land and destroyed 509 homes. My husband and I had moved from the Black Forest area in 2005; we still had friends living there. Joe, Angie and their family lost their home.

Image reproduced from article written by Rani Gran and published by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The family was devestated and after some time decided to rebuild on their Black Forest property. They now have a beautiful new home, ground cover and wild flowers have pushed through the ashes and animal life are returning to the area. Joe and Angie continue to regenerate the land by planting new trees to replace the lovely pine forest with views of Pike’s Peak on the horizon.

My husband and Joe have been motorcycle buddies for a long time, spending lots of hours together riding through the countryside with Earl’s Harley Davidson Fatboy and Joe’s bright orange Sporty. The Sporty was destroyed in the fire, the metal of the bike melted to an unrecognizable puddle. Joe and Angie saved some of the metal pieces from the bike. This is where I come into the story. Angie became familiar with my art quilts after staying awhile at our house after the fire. She asked me to create a wall hanging for their new home, incorporating the bike’s metal. A landscape emerged, a piece to tell a story about the Black Forest landscape, lost in the fire, a reminder of the journey of recovery, and a reminder of the past.

24″ x 72″ Large Format 3-Panel Landscape

In the photo of the finished panels above, you can see I incorporated the bike’s metal in the landscape to represent meandering rivers. Pikes’ Peak is in the background, along with lodge pole pines and waving aspens, once familiar to the Black Forest landscape. The sky depicts that of one you’ll see after fire abates. New growth is represented in the delicate wild flowers I placed in the foreground of the quilted landscape.

Below, you’ll find close-up photos of some of the techniques I used to create the elements of the landscape. I made the quilt panels and wrapped each of them around artist’s canvas to add stability and help support the weight of the metal when the panels were hung on the wall.

Lodge Pole Pines with thread painted bark, dyed cheesecloth needles and bead pinecones; Aspen trees made of silkworm pods and ink-painted spots, snippets of fabric and Angelina patches for leaves; Wildflower embroidery

I appreciate Angie letting me have free rein to create this landscape my way. A lot of my own reflections about the devastation of fire and my feelings for the foothills of the Rocky Mountains went into making the piece. This art quilt in particular became an expression of love, caring and renewal.

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